Christmas at home? Hardly.
Family members gathered. Christmas music played. Seasonal greenery and decorations adorned the tables. Gifts appeared for one and all. Food weighed down plates while hearts lifted with hugs and memories shared.
During that Christmas season, our family had to adjust to an unwelcome but unavoidable new normal. Dad’s medical condition required advanced care our family could no longer provide. Our hearts broke a few days earlier as we moved him into his new home. We added a few festive touches to his room and placed his Bible and favorite photo on the table by his bed. We visited regularly and shared his likes, dislikes, and idiosyncrasies with staff who provided round-the-clock care. Yet at the end of each day, we had to leave, and Dad had to stay.
No longer could he visit neighbors and tell them the story of salvation. No longer could he distribute Gideon Bibles he kept in the pockets of every coat and jacket he owned. No longer could he teach Sunday school or serve as an active deacon.
Instead, Dad waited for visits in his tiny room or the activity room with other residents. Or he maneuvered his wheelchair up and down the halls, greeting residents and workers alike with a smile and a heartfelt, “God bless you.” However, his heart longed for home.
That Christmas afternoon, we gathered to celebrate as best we could, maintaining some traditions and tweaking others to accommodate his needs. Although emotions remained raw, we tried to focus on the positives. We claimed the promise of God’s peace and presence in spite of every circumstance.
Little did we know how tightly we would cling to that assurance less than one month later. We gathered again with family and friends to thank God for Dad’s life on earth and to celebrate his move to his eternal home in heaven. As before, our hearts broke with this transition. We mourned Dad’s absence. At the same time, our hearts rejoiced that he was with the Savior he so faithfully served and that we would someday join him there.
God, our heavenly Father, has a home in heaven for all who accept his gift of grace. Are you ready to go home?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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