The ninth floor is very quiet tonight. Perhaps it is the Holy Hush of Christmas, or just that many children have been given a pass to go home for the night. Those of us remaining here seem to have time to chat, and the slower pace is very welcome. I stopped to talk to the nurses a few minutes ago and they were gathered at the nurses' station discussing the many pictures they are seeing on a popular social website this year. Friends and family have posted hundreds of pictures of children sitting on Santa's lap bawling their eyes out. Is it the color red that sets them off? Is it the bushy white beard? What could it be that so many children sit on Santa's lap and scream "rescue me" in a child's universal cry language? One of the nurses commented that they cry so hard the picture is most unflattering. Or as she described it, "tears and snot everywhere!"
After that conversation, I walked down the hall to the sunroom and plugged in the tree lights because it is Christmas Eve. I also found some Christmas music for the CD player that sits under the tree. As the music plays, Paul and Qavah are sitting together out there and I have come back to Qavah's room for a quiet moment. With the conversation with the nurses fresh on my mind, I wonder what it is about Santa that brings parents with little ones out to the malls every year to wait in long lines for their moment with Santa. Is it simply tradition? Do we hope that a meeting with Santa will bless them in some way, the way Jesus blessed the children? These are questions that don't really have one answer, I suppose. But it does seem more than ever that the birth of Jesus and the coming of Santa compete for our heart's affection at Christmastime, even in Christian homes.
I can't help but wonder what our nation would be like if on Christmas morning there were long lines of families with children waiting to get into our churches to worship the Newborn King. If Children were dressed in their finest, and led by the hand to the place where God's people welcome children, wouldn't that speak love to their little hearts? If our church doors were open tomorrow and we taught them about the unconditional love of God, whether they are "naughty or nice," wouldn't they cherish Him more than a man in a red suit who can't deliver what he promises?
I am contemplating these things more than ever this year. If seven months in the bone marrow transplant unit has taught me anything, it is to value what is most important. I am celebrating the birth of Jesus tonight inside the Children's Hospital, and it just might be the very best place to celebrate. I am clinging to His promises, and praying for Christmas miracles for the children here. Just down the hall are the rooms where Jamie, Garrison, Kristina, and Johnny were ushered into heaven by the angels. Perhaps even some of the angels present at the birth of our Messiah accompanied them from their rooms on 9B to their mansions in Heaven. What could be more glorious than to sit here and think of the riches in heaven where Jesus our Messiah awaits us, and where The Promised One wipes every tear from our eyes.
Lord, help us to bring our children to You, and to edify You more than Santa by our speech. We praise You Father, for sending Your Son. We praise You for making Him known to us. Not just on Christmas morning, but in the moments of every day. Quiet our hearts with Your love, and thank You that in Your presence there is peace, no matter where we are.