My thoughts this Christmas

Happy belated Christmas!

I spent my Christmas weekend with a young couple from my old church and their 2 toddlers (let’s call them the W family). It was lovely. The 2 little ones are oh-so-adorable. I spent 3 days running after them, playing with them, reading (the same stories over and over) to them, going to playgrounds and parks, and having fun with toys at bathtime. It was exhausting, but who can moan about looking after these children when you see them running around their cots stark naked, giggling heartily, and dashing to cuddle you? The 2 days of pseudo-motherhood made me want to have my own little children, but I have also realised how very unprepared I am to take on this lifelong responsibility at my young age. Motherhood demands so much physical energy, time, wisdom, patience, and love.

God created motherhood such that it is complemented so perfectly by fatherhood- while the mother nurses her children and looks after the house, the father wins the bread, disciplines his children, and supports his wife. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside every time I watched my friend (the father) playing with the boys, teaching them about God, potty-training his young sons, disciplining his children when they were naughty, and taking control when mummy was struggling with a particularly restless child. Observing the Christian parenthood displayed by my friends this Christmas made me desire to emulate the same parenting values in my own family in the future. Bringing up a child is no easy task, but it can be made so much easier and more satisfying by following God’s teachings from the bible.

Whilst I did genuinely enjoy my Christmas with the W family, I hasten to add that this Christmas has been a particularly sombre one. Too many nasty things have happened in the 2nd half of 2011, which has made it difficult for us to be totally joyful or in the mood for a party:

1. R2 is still in hospital receiving intensive chemotherapy. The last I heard, her blood counts have hit rock bottom. Although expected, this makes her particularly susceptible to overwhelming sepsis and severe bleeding. She is currently on multiple antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral therapy as she has been repeatedly spiking temperatures with no positive cultures. Things are looking bleak, and there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. The family are tired and sad, but thankfully still hanging onto the Lord for strength.

2. One of the Gastro consultants whom I have respected immensely since my 2nd year in medical school has passed away. He was only 40+ years old when he died of metastatic rectal cancer. He was “riddled with mets,” with brain and bony involvement, and his cancer apparently claimed him in October. I felt really sad when I heard of his passing. He was an excellent consultant who was so passionate about his work. I always remember him getting so excited talking about Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Despite his own disease, he continued to come to work in order to look after the patients under his care. He was a keen teacher too, and always gave gripping lectures that made you want to go away and learn more. It is a shame that I will never learn from him again.

3. My old church is apparently still struggling as a church as a whole. It’s members are finding themselves spiritually starved, and some have become jaded as a result of a long term lack of spiritual feeding and uplifting. The sermons given are poor and “fellowship” is superficial. People who are hurting are not finding comfort from the church, and people who are in crisis do not have a trusted figure of spiritual authority to turn to. The last I heard, one of the deacon’s daughter (whom I know) has become pregnant out of wedlock, one of the member’s autistic son is proving very difficult to manage, a couple that I know from there are struggling in their marriage, and people seem very discouraged in general.

4. The friend, C2, whom I was concerned about previously has entered into a sinful relationship with another man. I am devastated. This has apparently been happening since the summer and C2 has been hiding this secret all this time (until recently, when this has become public on facebook). It hurts to think that C2 has sought this relationship intentionally over the internet, and that the decision to enter into this sin was made without consulting any other Christians. It hurts to think that this friend’s desire for intimacy and relationship was not met by the church, and that it was only satisfied by a man who would ultimately rob my friend of the eternal treasures in heaven. It hurts to think that C2 has chosen to turn away and hurt all the people who really care. It hurts to think that for C2, God’s goodness is suddenly worth nothing, heaven is no longer worth seeking, and eternity is no longer worth grasping. Dear Lord God, please save my friend from this sin. Break him if you must, so that he will turn back to focus his eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

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