Christmas is a time for joy. It’s the wonder in a child’s eyes, the family you don’t get to see any other time of year, and the celebration of the best Birthday of all!
But for some, Christmas is anything but joyful. A friend of mine lost his mother this past February, and he’s dreading this first Christmas without her. Add to that the fact that his father is very ill and may not be alive when Christmas does come this year. Christmas just won’t be the same for him.
Another friend of mine was looking forward to spending Christmas with her first grandchild for the first time. Sadly her grandson was stillborn, so instead of joy at baby’s first Christmas there are empty hearts and an empty crib.
Trust takes a long time to build. And it can be lost in a moment. The fragility of trust is amazing.
Sitting in the airport not long ago, I couldn’t help overhearing one side of a phone conversation. A tall, good-looking man, about 30, was on his cell-phone – sobbing. He seemed oblivious to the crowd around him, and made no effort to keep others from hearing his conversation. He was obviously speaking with the lady in his life, pleading with her to “work things out.” The pain in his voice and his shameless tears almost made those of us nearby uncomfortable: we were witnessing a young man in real torment.
Trying to piece things together, this young man was apparently in the middle of a business trip. In the past he had done something to break trust with his wife, perhaps an affair, or drinking too much. While on this trip something had happened to re-open that old wound – perhaps he had not “checked in” at the expected time. She was angry. He was hurt. Each was accusing the other. It was tragic, and incredibly painful.
Two little girls walked to school every day. (Yes, once upon a time they really did that!) On this particular morning they were enjoying the pleasant sun more than usual. Suddenly it occurred to them that they were going to be late: the bell would ring and they would be marked tardy.
One little girl said to the other, “We’re going to be late! Let’s kneel down and pray.”
“No,” said the other. “Let’s pray while we run!”
As a physician and a minister I see both extremes: