December, the month in which we as Christians remember the birth of Christ on earth; a month of great celebration but for some also of real sadness. Not only do Christians celebrate new life at this time but, today, it has become a time of parties and presents for everyone. But that is not what I want to write about today but rather of how December 2012 started and ended for some of us as we experienced both the joy of new life as well as the sadness of death.
In October a boy was born to friends and within a few short weeks it was found that he had swelling on the brain and had to have all the scans and tests to see what the problem was. In the first week of December his parents were finally told that amazingly all signs of swelling and damage had disappeared and their new son was now perfect physically and was unlikely to experience any brain damage at all.
In mid-November a very little girl arrived 7 weeks early and was immediately admitted to neonatal ICU where she stayed for a month. At times during this month she really battled for her life. Her lungs collapsed and she could not retain any food, even the minute amounts being offered to her. In mid-December, she came home and is growing stronger every day.
Both of these incidents were declared miracles by the doctors attending to them. There certainly were a lot of prayers being offered no only within our own church community where their parents are members, but around the country and around the world. People love to witness miracles and more especially at Christmas time. In fact, the grandmother of the little boy actually said ”I did not believe that miracles still occurred but now I have witnessed one in my old age!"
During December I, personally, have lost someone very dear to me and all our extended family, my mother’s youngest sister. It has brought about the end of an era within her family – her 2 brothers and 2 sisters as well as she herself our now gone from this world to a much better one, of that I am sure. Within our church circle we have experienced 3 deaths in the space of 5 days – one from cancer, one from old age and the 3rd and saddest was a woman in her 40s who died alone in her flat following an epileptic fit. Her body was discovered only 4 days later. What a painful Christmas this must have been for each of these families. For all of us who knew all 4 of them are comforted by the fact that they all believed in God and were certain of a new life following death.
So what do we take from this? Life goes on and we have to find strength and comfort where we can. We have been privileged to have had each of these people in our lives and they have all affected us in different but special ways. According to some, the Mayans had said that the world would end on 21 December but I found it interesting that so many around the world continued to prepare for Christmas. As we all know now, it did not end but if it had, we would have been none the wiser. Now that it hasn’t, let us find joy in new life and give thanks for those lives that have gone before us. Give thanks for what they taught us, for the fact that they loved us and most importantly that our lives are richer for their influence.
May all who read this be truly blessed and bless others in 2013.