One of my favorite Christmas carols is "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Growing up I was particularly fond of the Bing Crosby version. I loved the refrain "'O tidings of comfort and joy."
This refrain holds particular meaning for me this Christmas. We need both comfort and joy.
I've taken comfort and joy in the familiar: Christmas Eve, Ed and I attended the Children's Christmas Worship Service at our church. It was comforting to see St. Peter's decked out in it's holiday finest. I enjoyed listening to the familiar portions of Christmas program, watching Madison and Ethan sing out the Good News with confidence. Hearing the message from my children about God's perfect gift to us brought joy. It was even comforting to sob quietly during part of the program. I was surrounded by my church family who sought no explanation, but simply offered silent support. The safety of my church home and family was dearly comforting.
Even the usually annoying Santa Countdown from my children offered a measure of comfort. There was comfort in going through the traditional rituals of setting out eggnog and cookies for Santa; comfort in reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas before forcing Madison and Ethan into bed; and knowing Ed was reading Meaghan the same story across town.
And there was much joy on Christmas morning. The children were simply awed by the bounty of gifts under the tree. Our usually minimalist Christmas mornings were replaced by the generous offerings of numerous Secret Santas. There was joy in watching Ethan and Madison show steely restraint while waiting for their father and sister to arrive home from the hospital.
There was joy in watching Meaghan point to gifts then to herself, asking for more and more presents to open. It was joyful to have Meg "kick" us out of her room so she could play with her sister for a few moments. It was joyful to have all three children home on this Christmas morn.
For me, joy tends to be more fleeting than comfort, but I am nonetheless grateful for the satiety comfort brings. Traveling back to the hospital with Meaghan this Christmas Day was difficult, but we had a good day. I could see her relax once she was back in "her" room. I am comforted by watching her sleep peacefully.
Perhaps I found the most comfort in the words of my son on Christmas Eve. "Maybe God let this happen to Meaghan so we can love Him more and want Him more." Thank you Ethan for reminding me that my Heavenly Father wants us to run to him for comfort and joy.
It is my Christmas prayer that you have been as blessed as we were today! Merry Christmas!!
Thank you for taking time to follow Meaghan's journey of healing as she battles Medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer.
Meaghan, our five year old daughter, was diagnosed early November 2009 after an MRI revealed she had a 4 cm solid tumor in her cerebellum. The tumor resection, while successful, resulted in serious complications.
Cancer is a family affair and here I try to chronicle not only Meg's journey, but our whole family's as well.