The strains of “O Come All Ye Faithful” echoed throughout the church on Christmas Eve. In the darkness, the candle flames flickered. As the solitary light streamed over the manger scene, a sense of awe settled over me. A solemn night. A joyful night, for Christ our Savior was born. Come, let us adore him.
On Christmas Eve, when I’m caught up in the wonderment of our Savior’s birth, it’s easy for me to say, “Jesus, I adore you.”
But what about the other seasons of my life? Am I as devoted to him when I’m struggling, hurting, or crushed beneath the weight of my circumstances? Is God still with me?
Two years ago, my sister was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Several days later, I sensed the Lord whisper, “Walk her home.”
That year, I helped her take down her Christmas decorations. Though no one talked about it, we knew she wouldn’t see another Christmas. Over the next few months, I prayed for her and posted encouraging scriptures.
Five months after her diagnosis, we received word that she was rapidly declining. I drove six hours to be with her during her final days. God’s comfort surrounded me in the loss of my sister.
In 2006, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy triggered debilitating fatigue, sickness, and pain. I couldn’t focus to read, watch a television program, or even pray. How could I worship God? In my cries for mercy, he extended his grace to me throughout my season of cancer and chemotherapy.
My ovarian cancer journey stirred a passion for writing. My heart filled with gratitude when I landed a book contract for In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer. In times of rejoicing, God was with me.
Today I thank God that I am cancer-free. Through my cancer journey, God has changed the course of my life. I retired from my nursing career, and he plunged me into a writing adventure in which I had no experience. He brought new friends into my life, ovarian cancer survivors as well as other writers. I discovered even during times of transition, God was with me.
So, this Christmas season, no matter what circumstances we face—the silent nights, the uncertainties of life, the losses that echo in the hollow recesses of our hearts—we can rest on this truth: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
He is Emmanuel. God with us.
Come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.