Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Christmas Filled with Quiet Reflection

Ecclesiastes 5:20
"They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart."

This was a very quiet Christmas for us. First of all, it was the first Christmas we've had in 30 years without either of our kids with us. David and Julie (and Erich) participated in Journey to Bethlehem in Zakosciele, Poland, the site of the PROeM camp. It ran through Sunday night, the 23rd, meaning they would have left on Christmas Eve and traveled all day and making them exhausted Christmas Day. Then, they had to be back for classes to start on Wednesday, Jan. 2, meaning they would have had to fly out on New Year's Eve to make it back in time. It would not have been long enough to make the trip make any sense. They also had a camp this weekend that they were supposed to attend, so it was really too tight.

Then Tammy came down with RSV, which forced her to lay low for two to three weeks. We canceled our trip to Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl because we knew that she wouldn't feel like a car trip that long. We would have left yesterday, and we're glad we didn't, because she still doesn't feel great.

What a blessing that decision was, because on Friday, Dec. 21, I came down with a virus that turned into pneumonia sometime over the weekend. By Christmas Eve, I was so sick I could hardly get out of bed. We had to miss the Christmas Eve service, Christmas Eve at my Mom's with my side of the family, Christmas evening at her parents with Tammy's side of the family, and everything else that goes on during this festive week. We haven't left the house, other than to go to the doctor and to pick up prescriptions.

We're feeling better, and we hope to be back to health soon. But this down time has allowed us to focus on the season a little better than usual. We were "humbled" by our sickness, feeling helpless and weak. We thought a lot about Jesus humbling Himself to be born as a human, and being helpless as a newborn baby. He did this so that we could spend eternity with Him, as long as we accept the free gift He offers. We know that someday, this life will be over, along with its sickness and struggles, and we will see Jesus face-to-face.

As we look back on the adventure of the past year, we celebrate so many things. We celebrate the fact that another donor was found so quickly when Tammy's Leukemia returned. Most people don't survive needing a second transplant because another match cannot be found in time. We celebrate the fact that Tammy has recovered so quickly. Before she went back to the hospital for her second transplant, the doctor told her that she had a 25 percent chance of surviving for a year. Most of that risk has past, and her counts are better at this stage than they were three years ago after a year. We celebrate the fact that Tammy was able to return to church in November, barely six months after her transplant. She's missed the last few Sundays because of the RSV, but we're preparing for her to return shortly. (The picture above was taken on Thanksgiving at Tammy's parents' house. This is us with my Mom. You can see how healthy she looks--and how beautiful!)

We celebrate the fact that so many people have been impacted by this blog. We continue to get emails and letters from people who have been blessed by it. Our goal with this blog was to keep people informed without having to send out countless emails. But our ultimate goal from the beginning has been to bring glory to God by our reaction to His path. If you have been blessed by our writing, then we have done that.

We celebrate the number of prayers that have been lifted up on our behalf, both in the big picture and for day-to-day requests. As we have stated many times, we feel like we're being carried on a "pillow of prayers."

Finally, we celebrate the fact that our God loves us so much. He gave us each other. He gave us so many wonderful friends and family members who are a blessing to us every day. Most important, He gave us His Son, who paid the price for our sins, and makes the journey we're on worthwhile.

We pray that you have a happy and healthy 2013. God bless you.

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