I tried to drag myself out of bed. I was too tired, too weak, and still ailing. I had no choice but to lie in bed and hope that a crane would mysteriously appear and hoist me out.
“It’s getting late.” Hubby stated the obvious. “Are you going to be able to get up today? To celebrate Christmas?”
“How can we celebrate Christmas? I haven’t done a thing to prepare for it. I didn’t go shopping, I’ve been too sick to worry about decorating our tree, or even having you put it up. We don’t have any treats, presents, no lights . . . nothing. We just can’t celebrate Christmas this year. I haven’t got the strength. I can’t do it. And, to make matters worse, I don’t care—I’m too sick to even care.”
“Don’t worry about anything. Lie there until the kids come over. They have something special for you.”
“Oh no. I didn’t buy them anything.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
It wasn’t too long until my son, Brad, came upstairs and my daughter and her family came over.
“Merry Christmas,” they said. Their faces shone as if the Northern Star itself was shining on them.
“I’m sorry, kids, but I’ve been too sick to do anything. I guess we’re not having Christmas this year.”
“Nonsense,” Brad and daughter Angie said.
“We’re just glad that you’re home. That’s Christmas enough for us.” Brad spoke for the entire family.
I couldn’t help it. I buried my face in my hands and sobbed. I cried and cried. I cried because of what had happened to me. I cried because everything was changed. I cried because my house wasn’t decorated for Christmas. I cried because there wasn’t a tree for that large present to sit under. I cried for every ornament I did not hang.
My family surrounded me. Brian announced, “I’d like to begin this day with a prayer.”
We folded our arms and bowed our heads while we listened to Brian, my husband, my children’s father and grandfather utter a prayer of thanks and gratitude. The things he said made me open my eyes to see if the Savior Himself was standing there. He thanked Heavenly Father for the gift of the Savior that by Him and through Him we can be saved. He thanked Him for His graciousness in preserving my life, and that we knew my survival was a miracle granted by His almighty hand.
It was not my time. I knew it. The Lord had spared me from an untimely death. And yet, if I had died, it would have been a wrong death, for His Spirit told me there were still things for me to do. I had been given a second chance—many chances, really, for this was not my first brush with death. Because I had been snatched from the jaws of death, yet again, everything was still possible.
After decades of me dreading the busyness of the Christmas season, believing I must conform to the ideology that I had to have at least two Christmas trees, decorated to the hilt, garland draped everywhere, a ton of beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, lights everywhere, not to mention making sure my house smelled liked Christmas, I witnessed that no matter what I did or didn’t do, Christmas is a sacred day, even without a tree.