Monday, December 23, 2013
 
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Special feature from LDN's Worship Guide

Home for Christmas

By Chaplain Ryan Edgecombe, The Christian Village

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[December 23, 2013]  At The Christian Village, where I serve as chaplain, we are in the thick of the Christmas spirit. We have several volunteers out shopping for the perfect Christmas presents for each resident; we have our activity staff working hard on our upcoming Christmas party for residents and families; and as I write this, we even have one of our church partners coming all the way from Champaign to help us decorate the nursing home. It's a busy time of year including a lot of singing of those old and familiar Christmas songs like "Away in a Manger," "Frosty the Snowman" and "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas."

When I started working in nursing homes about 16 years ago (at DeWitt County Nursing Home in Hallsville), I remember the activity and nursing staff telling me at Christmastime that there is one song we should not include in our festive caroling with the residents during the holidays:

I'll be home for Christmas.
You can plan on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents around the tree.

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love-light gleams.
I'll be home for Christmas,
If only in my dreams.

The thought was that this would upset the residents because of their inability to be home for Christmas due to a variety of physical ailments and their need for 24-hour care.

Obviously, Christmas can bring with it grief and sadness to many elderly men and women as they look back on past Christmases with loved ones who have since passed away, or as already mentioned, just the loss that is felt when people desire to be home for the holidays but instead find themselves in a community that looks more like a hospital or other facility, with long, sterile hallways and shared rooms no bigger than a dorm room at a local college.

The baby born in the manger at Christmas can give us hope, however. The Son of God walked among us "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" so that one day the effects of a fallen and sinful and imperfect world might be done away with.

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As we celebrate Christ's first advent, it would be proper and edifying for us to look forward to Christ's second advent as well, where there won't be any need for nursing homes, or hospitals, or medical centers, or hospices, or funeral homes, because Christ has conquered evil and death through his birth, crucifixion and resurrection. One day, through faith in Him, our residents will be in their TRUE HOME with God, and no one will be able to take them away from this home ever again!

For me, this is the true meaning of Christmas. One day, if we faithfully abide with our Savior, we will all be home for Christmas!

Revelation 21:3, 4 "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

[By RYAN EDGECOMBE, Christian Village chaplain]

 

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