Christmas Eve Service
All the lights were turned off in the sanctuary, and only the Advent candle’s at the altar was left on in the dark. From this light, the small firelight was passed down to small candles held by people who filled the sanctuary along with the song of “Silent Night”.
I flashed back to my childhood memory of my eyes gazing on an enticing candle light in my hand singing the same “Silent Night” at a small church next to my house in Japan.
Back then, I, as a child, didn’t know the meaning of Jesus’ birth, but I would enjoy Christmas as the most beautiful heart-warming day.
After many years, I have come back to church to celebrate Christmas. Now I know the meaning of it and adore this holy gift of Jesus.
Singing “ Silent Night”, and feeling the warmness of the candle light in my hand, I was thankful that I could reconnect with God, and celebrate Jesus’ birth again this year.
The Morning of the Christmas
My sons used to get up at sunrise on Christmas day hardly waiting for opening the gifts. Now after growing up, they come full of gifts in their arms with the greeting of “Merry Christmas!”
As we opened the gifts under the Christmas tree one by one, they still showed excitements like “What is this?” and then “ Wow!” with big smiles just the same as when they were little, and made George and me who were watching them happy.
As my turn came, I couldn’t help holding the joy, either.
I am deeply thankful for many thoughtful gifts this year again.
Let There Be Light in the Darkness
On the other hand, prayer requests for cancer patients are continually coming in regardless of Christmas or New Year.
The fear and anxiety while waiting for diagnoses if that is cancer or not, and the shock of hearing the bad news must be the same for everyone. Yet, especially if that happens during a holiday season, it will take away all joyful anticipation for the good times.
For people who have lost their loved ones, also, the more they have good memories, the more it must be difficult to spend a Christmas or New Years Day.
Because this is so, I wish the spirit of Christmas lifts up those souls, which are in darkness, even if it’s for a short time.
‘I may not be here next Christmas.’
‘ This Christmas might be the last one with my loved ones.’
If we think so, we would get extremely sad, but nobody knows about future and we should enjoy every minute, the gift God gave us, with gratitude.
I received my diagnoses two days before Mother’s Day. I was so devastated that I lost appetite and could not sleep.
Yet, on Mother’s Day Sunday, I was lifted up by strong hugs at church and smiles of my sons.
“Do not worry about tomorrow.”
“ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ”
“ I will never abandon you ”, said Jesus.
We celebrate Christmas because Jesus, who is called Immanuel=God is with us, came onto the earth to save us from the eternal death.
I pray in this Christmas season people who have fallen into the darkness with the cancer diagnoses or whatever the reason, would found light with their family and the friends God gave them.