It feels appropriate to share this now. My wife was born at 28 weeks. 50 some odd years ago that should have been a death sentence. Instead, her symptoms were always extraordinarily mild. A little over a year ago, she had been through 28 surgeries since we married almost 32 years ago. But a little over a year ago a doctor that we trusted botched 2 surgeries in a row. She spent 5 months (roughly) in a trauma hospital with about 2 1/2 weeks in ICU. Including the botched surgeries, she had 7 more. This included 3 brain surgeries. Now, mind you, we’ve always had the brightest house at Christmas. The year that included a shooting victim is a separate story. But a few years ago, our daughters were all excited about decorating. Despite my wife’s admonitions that neither she nor I could help, the decorations had to come down in a timely manner. Understand that by this time, she was a triplegic and I had a neurologic disorder that prevents me from doing much. The decorations were finally put away in March. We haven’t put up anything since. Well, living in the high desert, it hasn’t “felt” like Christmastime since we left the Midwest. So, after last year as I watched for her to live or die and tried to keep the family together around all our traditions, this year is different. This year her folks will be with her sister in Illinois and our biological daughter (we’ve been mom and dad to many young people) will be on shift as an EMT (in training to be a paramedic). So, we will likely have frozen foods and stay in pajamas all day. In this family, we have learned how important family tradition is, even if it means spending the morning in a hospital next to your wife as she is unconscious before driving 2 hours home to insist on a “family dinner”. Yes, we all know the reason for the season is Christ. But from one who almost saw everything change, I want to encourage all of you to hold your loved ones and your family traditions near as we celebrate the coming of our Lord. You can have one without the other, but I can tell you from reading from Luke at my grandmother’s deathbed to splitting the day between my wife’s bedside and family dinner, that maintaining family traditions and remembering our Lord go best together.

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