Eleven-year-old Savannah has a very short Christmas list this year. No iPod. No DVDs or gift cards. No new-fangled electronic gadgets. This year Savannah just wants her mom to come home from the hospital.
Readers of Frankly Speaking know that I am a chaplain with the Lansing Police Department. Acting in that capacity I have encountered hundreds of interesting people and had experiences I never expected. Some have been a blessing; some have been heart rending.
Last week I was assigned with an officer to "sit on" a prisoner in the emergency room at Ingham Regional Medical Center. In the room next door was Samantha, a thirty-something mom that was in a lot of pain.
Nearly a year ago Samantha had a failed surgery on her bladder. She has been housebound ever since. Although she hoped to be able to stay home until after the holidays, the pain became too great and she found herself in the ER awaiting admission into the hospital.
I met Samantha and her mother, Linda. We talked about her struggle. She showed me pictures of her daughter, Savannah. We prayed together. She cried.
Earlier today I got a call that Samantha had a seven hour reconstructive surgery on her bladder two days ago. Though hopes are high that she will finally be able to get healthy, the surgery and a several day long hospital stay have put a major kink in her Christmas plans.
Naturally, Samantha has not been able to shop for gifts for her daughter. When I spoke with her mom (Savannah's grandmother) on the phone she told me that Samantha was upset that she could not get any gifts for her daughter for Christmas. She was discouraged because she was going to be spending Christmas in a hospital bed.
Any chance we can intervene in this situation? Is it possible that, even at this late hour, that we might be able to encourage this family an unexpected and unanticipated blessing?
I would love it if, when Savannah comes to visit her mom on Christmas morning, she would find a hospital bed covered in gifts and a mother smiling from ear to ear because she was able to do what moms do each Christmas - make her daughter smile.
This time of year you get lots of requests for this sort of thing. Maybe you're tapped out. That's okay. Just say a prayer for Samantha and Savannah. But maybe you've got five or ten dollars that you wouldn't mind sending their way. Maybe you've got more than that.
If you do, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org Tomorrow I will head out to the mall and spend what you pledge to give and you can pay me when you see me, or send the money to:
South Lansing Christian Church
6300 Aurelius Rd.
Lansing, MI 48911
(Put Christmas for Savannah in the memo line)
Lots of folks worship Jesus this time of year - as it should be. Thank you for also being Jesus. Merry Christmas.