2011-12-22 / General Stories


(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

It’s Going to be a Different Sort of Christmas

John has lung cancer. He’s on continuous oxygen and his breathing is often labored. He has terrible coughing fits that go on for minutes. Moving from the kitchen table to his recliner is a real chore.

During a recent visit, we were at the kitchen table, talking about his family. He grew quiet, gazing around at the red and green decorations put up by his daughters and grandkids.

He sighed, and said, “It’s going to be a different sort of Christmas this year.”

Honestly, the holidays are hard for some of us, maybe for most of us. For many, Christmas is synonymous with pressure, headaches, and more debt. Maybe that old song should have been, “It’s the most stressful time of the year. . .”

When I’m under stress, I have to remind myself of what I know to be true.

I hope you’ll allow me, at Christmas time, to share some of what I believe.

There’s a gift waiting for each of us this Christmas. It’s under the tree with each of our names on it. The gift is a person – Jesus Christ. In that very first Christmas gift, we find the things we hunger for: the forgiveness, peace, and purpose found in a relationship with God that changes everything. With this gift comes courage to deal with the past and the wisdom to live well now. I must focus on that Gift. I invite you to join me. It’ll be a different sort of Christmas. Merry Christmas.

Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice and is interim Minister at First Baptist Church in Lexington

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