The most wonderful time of the year

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I’m writing this post from a really uncomfortable couch in my mom’s hospital room. Everyone is sleeping and I thought I’d capture a few of my thoughts here during this quiet time.

As most of you know, mom returned to the hospital last weekend and after testing it was discovered that all of the cancer removed during surgery has returned- and then some. There isn’t anything left to do but to keep her comfortable and savor all the remaining minutes and days God gives us with her. She is brave (her doctor calls her “stoic”) and she knows that what awaits her is SO much better than any joy we have ever known here (and we have known much joy!)  God has blessed her with very little pain, an incredible(!!!) doctor who loves God with all her heart and prays with us each time she stops by, and an open spot in a beautiful Hospice facility that we hope to move to later today.

We all are just overwhelmed by the support, cards, letters, flowers, gas cards, prayers etc. that have poured in on mom’s behalf. Her friend and co-worker Lisa visited yesterday and when mom said she couldn’t believe how many people care, Lisa reminded her that this is her legacy. She has cared for so many others, listened, visited, sent letters, prayed, and taught. This is just all of those hundreds of people saying thank you for a life well-lived. I’m glad Lisa said that, because it is true.

Yesterday, I was walking to get lunch and there was a man sitting in the hall making an obviously difficult phone call and crying his eyes out while the hospital overhead speakers cheerily played, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year….with kids jingle belling and everyone telling you, ‘be of good cheer’…its the MOST wonderful time of the year.”

I stood in line for my toasted cheese and thought about that for a long time.

A lot of people have said that they are especially sorry that all of this is happening in our family right now at Christmas, but I think that this might be the very first Christmas I truly celebrate for the right reason.

I will get all spiritual on you and quote from The Grinch who Stole Christmas:

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

We are sitting in a hospital room and facing the reality that mom is leaving us. But we know this is only the beginning for her- the beginning of life as it should have been all along. Life as we all long for it to be- with no pain, no sadness, no tears and no goodbyes. None of the things we suffer from here. And we know we will all join her someday and together we will worship God forever.

The reason this is even possible starts with Christmas. It all begins with Jesus coming to earth, God becoming man, taking all of our sin on himself and paying for it with his own death and resurrection.

Whatever the “Happy Holidays” people say, there truly is no reason to celebrate Christmas without Jesus. Without Jesus it IS about ribbons and tags, it comes with packages, boxes and bags. Without Jesus, it’s a shopping spree and a sentimental Hallmark Channel set of days, full of traditions that will end, presents that will be forgotten, and credit card bills in January.

This year we are back to the basics. No decorations or lights on a tree, no presents, no feasts. But we have the hope of eternity because of Jesus. And that makes this season one of the most wonderful times of the year, no matter what circumstances we face.

I will leave you with one of my dad’s favorite songs~

“And because He lives, I can face tomorrow

Because He lives, all fear is gone.

Because I know- I know He holds the future,

I can face uncertain days- because He lives.”

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9 thoughts on “The most wonderful time of the year

    Michelle Acton said:
    December 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Ruth Ann, thanks again for sharing! I’m so sorry for all that you and your family are going thru! You and your family inspire me with how your going thru this with Jesus! God Bless you All! And when I think of what the true meaning of Christmas is, Merry Christmas to you an your!

    Deanna Stults said:
    December 16, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Ruth Ann, our thoughts and prayers are with you all, and we are so grateful for your thoughts shared about the true meaning of Christmas. I have felt this so much this year also. So very glad to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and to be able to share this with others. Your Mom is in God’s hands and both she and you know this. What a beautiful gift.

    Beth DeWeese said:
    December 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks, Ruthanne, for another beautiful post! Your God-given gift of writing always finds the plumb-line between the visual earthly life and the true Godly meaning behind it all. We all wish for more we can do for your family. We’re praying for your entire family that God is in control and His will and purpose will be evident. May God bless you with His strength and love, and many Joy-full moments with your Mom because of His presence. Love to you and your family ♥

    Kathy Rowland said:
    December 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    All because He lives!! Thank you, Ruthanne, for using the incredible gift God has given you to help us to remember the true “Reason for the Season” We want to be a “Blessing” to you in your time of need, and instead your words are a “Blessing” to us! May God wrap His loving arms around you and your family in the days ahead. We are Family and we love you!

    Noel said:
    December 16, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    ❤ hugs being sent to you Ruthie

    Judy said:
    December 19, 2014 at 5:58 am

    As usual, you have captured in words what is in many of our hearts. Know you are loved and prayed for!

      Ruthanne responded:
      January 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks Judy- hugs!!

    Peter/Nancy Schweigert said:
    January 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Pete and I both love you and are praying for you. We both know how difficult it is to lose your Mother. May God stay close to you and bless you every day!! It was a blessing to read your message about Christmas and Jesus!!

      Ruthanne responded:
      January 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      I love you guys too. Thank you for your prayers!!!!

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