Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Celebrating Christmas in the ER

by Barbara M. Britton

How was your Christmas? I’m not sure how I am going to answer that question this year. I celebrated many blessings. My boys were home from seminary and work. We ate delicious meals with amazing chocolate cake to top off the menu. Presents were distributed with glee. But then, life happened. Christmas became a memory very fast. I found myself focusing on people who were suffering. I found myself in the emergency room with a family member who developed a blood clot from being in one of those cumbersome, restrictive black “boots” the previous month. Fortunately, and with thanks to God, my family member came home and is on a medication to dissolve the clot.

As I sat there in the waiting room of a hospital on December 26th, with mothers walking sick infants up and down the hall, and elderly patients with their faces masked, I felt blessed to be able to celebrate my Savior every day of the year. Don’t get me wrong. Christmas is fun and meaningful. It’s a time for us to focus and fathom how the Son of God (who always was and always will be) stepped into time to be born as our Savior. It’s a time where people can hear the gospel and learn about Jesus. But the wonder of Jesus and His sacrifice should be fathomed every day of the year.

I think it’s safe to say that the feverish, coughing patients in the emergency room weren’t having a great Christmas. I hope they have a relationship with Jesus. I hope that relationship is meaningful and celebrated throughout the year. I hope they get a Christmas do-over several times a month.

Life can get tough no matter what time of year. Two years ago, in December, I had my second surgery to remove breast cancer from my body. Christmas was simple that year. I rested and recovered while prayers were lifted up on my behalf. I remember that December fondly as food was dropped at my door and get-well cards arrived with Christmas greetings. I remember printing out the words to the hymn, “Because He Lives” and knowing that I could face tomorrow because of my relationship with Jesus.

No matter what 2018 holds for me, I am confident that God will give me the strength to get through the trials, and that he will give me Christmas cheer at unexpected times.

Was my Christmas perfect? Maybe close to it until the 26th of December. Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect if Jesus is prominent in your life. Children sing, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” What good advice to count them every day of every month. Let’s make 2018 a Jesus-filled year. A year where we count our Christmas blessings every morning.


Barb's newest release is Jerusalem Rising, the third installment in her Tribes of Israel series.

About the book:

When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.

Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?

Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.

About Barb:

Barbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. You can find out about Barb’s books on her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Let’s make 2018 a Jesus-filled year. A year where we count our Christmas blessings every morning. via @BarbaraMBritton @emilyrconrad

Empty hospital room photo by Martha Dominguez on Unsplash
Aerial hospital photo by Ivars Krutainis on Unsplash
Jar of lights photo by Marcelo Matarazzo on Unsplash


Barbara M. Britton said...

Happy Tuesday, Emily. Thank you for having me on your blog. I hope 2018 holds many blessings for you.

Emily Conrad said...

Thanks, Barb! So happy to have you here! I hope the same for you and that your family member continues to recover well!

BetsyN said...

You are always my inspiration Barb!

Barbara M. Britton said...

Aw, thanks, Betsy. It's easy to stay strong when you have wonderful friends. You're the best!

Pearl Allard said...

Barb, thanks for sharing your experience. Not what anyone would plan for Christmas! I love what Emily said once, “God gifted me with 'not what I had in mind' so I could reach exactly what he had in mind.” That’s stuck with me, and your blog post was quite the illustration! May your family member be given complete and quick healing, as the Lord wills, and may all touched by this person’s life be drawn closer to Him. Thanks again, Barb!

Jerusha Agen said...

What an inspiring and encouraging post! There are several "quotable" statements you made here that shot right to my soul and make me want to tuck them away in my heart to remind me of the truth whenever I'm down or lamenting my "imperfect" days. I'm a Christmas girl, so I LOVE your expectation that God will give you "Christmas cheer" at unexpected moments this year. You're right, we can have Christmas cheer throughout the year as we celebrate Christ and His sacrifice. Thanks you so much for this hopeful encouragement today!

Jerusha Agen said...

Wow, love that quote from Emily, Pearl. Thanks for sharing that! Such a powerful truth to remember.

Emily Conrad said...

I need that quote myself, Pearl! Thanks for reminding me of it! Echoing your prayer for Barb's family member.

Emily Conrad said...

Thanks for reading, Jerusha! Isn't Barb's message of ongoing Christmas cheer fabulous? :)

Barbara M. Britton said...

Thank you, Pearl. And thanks for sharing Emily's quote. I do believe God takes us on detours to learn new things. The more we learn, the more we can relate to people and build relationships to share our faith--or just have a better bond with friends.

Barbara M. Britton said...

I don't know what I would do without having Jesus to get me through each and every day. Thanks for your kind comments, Jerusha. Aren't we blessed to have a Savior who cares about the little things--and the big things--in our lives. God is amazing! I grew up in a non-Christian home and one of the things I remember is the fear of the future. Thankfully, my family is Christian now, and we don't have to fear the future. God holds the future!

marilyn leach said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Barbara, and the encouragement it gives. Cheers

Barbara M. Britton said...

You're very welcome, Marilyn. Now I have to remind myself each and every day to take my advice and focus on God.
Thanks for joining us.

Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction. said...

Mary and Joseph, on that first Christmas long ago, had to make do with a bed in the manger when there was no room in the inn. Christmas is what we make it, despite rather than because of our circumstances. Thanks for a heartfelt post.

Barbara M. Britton said...

You are so right, Janalyn. What a blessing we have in the USA to have accessible health care. I will always remember this Christmas and spending time with my mom.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

You are SO right, Barbara....the blessing and thanksgiving of/for Christ should be a daily thing. So glad your family member is doing so much better.
Good luck and God's blessings

Barbara M. Britton said...

Thanks, Pam. My mom is doing better, Praise the Lord!
Blessings to you, too.