Christmastide is one of the seasons of the liturgical year in the Christian church defined as the period between Christmas Eve and Epiphany. The same period is also commonly known as The Twelve Days of Christmas.
The Twelve Days of Christmas are important because they give us a way of reflecting on what the Incarnation means in our lives. Christmas commemorates the most momentous event in human history - the entry of God into the world he made, in the form of a baby.
Roswell Presbyterian Church published The Waiting Room, our Advent 2017 devotional. This devotional featured stories from RPC members, who through vulnerability, honesty, and great strength, shared times when they had to wait. They reflected on the difficulty of that process, but also the ways that God sustained them in the process as well.
Here is one of the two additional devotionals that were submitted as we celebrate The Twelve Days of Christmas and what it means when all this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." (Matthew 1:22-23)
The Waiting Room
Wednesday, December 27
Anonymous, RPC member since September 2007
Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go... - Genesis 28:15a (NRSV)
Our one-year-old daughter had been plagued with intermittent illness every few months since she was born. One day I had to rush her to a physician at Scottish Rite Hospital. It was 1982. We didn't have cell phones. Somehow, I got word to my husband, and he was waiting at an intersection near the hospital. Fortunately, Atlanta was one of the few areas of the country that had a pediatric specialist for her condition.
Our daughter was immediately hospitalized. After further testing, the doctor told us that it was either Problem A or Problem B, but they would have to operate immediately to determine which.
Our Christian friends from church began to mobilize. Our four-year-old son went to a friend's house until my parents could drive from Alabama to pick him up and take him to their house. To this day, I don't know who packed his clothes. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. It would be 20 days before I saw him again.
Other friends from church came to the hospital to pray with us. I remember sensing someone coming into the room during a prayer, and when the "Amen" was pronounced, I saw the doctor had bowed his head and joined the prayer circle.
The surgery began. Waiting was only bearable because so many people were praying. I felt I was actually being held up physically by this spiritual safety net of numerous people going before the Lord in prayer - even when I couldn't. At the top of the eighth hour, our daughter was returned to the room asleep and breathing on her own, but white as a sheet. "She will be receiving some blood in a few minutes," a nurse stated. I hardly had time to think about the implications as the transfusion began. I stood over our little one as slowly, slowly, color came back to her body. She was alive! My joy was overflowing.
But as often happens in hospital settings, my mountaintop joy was brought into reality when the surgeon stepped into the room saying there would be another surgery in two days. A dear friend said, "God wouldn't bring her this far and then take her away." I clung to those words.
Our precious daughter lived to grow up, marry, and give us our three beautiful grandchildren. As we celebrate Advent this year and think about the wait for our wonderful Savior, I like to remember how He sustained me in all of my "waiting" in 1982.
Holy God, help us to honor you in all the times we are waiting. Thank you for sending us a savior who is truly God and truly man and thus perfectly related to us. Amen.