Emmanuel. It’s my favorite Christmas word. It means, simply, “God with us.”
And it really is. Simple, I mean.
I’m sitting here alone on Christmas morning, in those magical moments before the kids wake up and come bounding down the stairs. There’s snow on the ground outside, a fire burning in the fireplace, and I’m home. We’re all home, and most importantly, together.
Another favorite word.
Corey was released from the SCCA 26 days ago and care was officially transferred back to our local oncologist, Dr. Lukas. Corey saw him the first week of December and his numbers from the labs they ran that day are excellent. His white and red blood cell counts are perfect. His neutrophils, which should be somewhere between 2-4, are at 3.5, and climbing every day. Corey was able to attend the kids’ Christmas play at church the first weekend of December. We sat in the balcony and he didn’t shake anyone’s hand, but he was able to be there. He’s attended every one of the kids basketball games, again, standing off to the side and not. touching. anything., but he’s been there. I can neither confirm nor deny that I kept the kids home from school last Friday so we could go see an 11 AM showing of the new Star Wars film. Something we always do together, but this year needing to attend a screening where there’d be as few people there as possible. And, he has gone to work every single weekday this month, plus two Saturdays.
So yeah, Emmanuel…God with us.
God. With us.
Think about that for a second. The Creator – of. the. universe. – with us. I have felt His presence and seen His hands at work this year perhaps more than at any other time in my life. Edward Jones Investments, the company Corey works for and who our benefits are through, requires annual biometric screening each November when it’s time for our benefit renewal. It was a blip on that blood work last year that caused our family doctor to call him back in for more blood work. A blip on that round of blood work caused him to call Corey back in for another round of blood work. Repeat that cycle a couple more times and March 1 we get the diagnosis that would change our lives. But our doctor went down one track with that blood work. Just one. He could’ve gone down a hundred different directions, looking for a hundred different things, but he went down one; I believe at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
So yeah, Emmanuel. God with us.
Corey’s parents, his older brother and his family, who all live in Coeur d’Alene came back over the mountains for Christmas and are spending it here, with the two brothers who live on the west side. We all attended church yesterday for our Christmas Eve candlelight communion service. It’s my very favorite service of the year, has been since I was a little girl, and we were all able to attend it… together.
As we lit our candles and sang “silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright…” I was moved to tears at the simple beauty of the moment. It was the first time in several months that we were able to attend church together, and it was to celebrate the greatest gift the world has ever received.
The gift of life.
God. With us. Come to give us life.
My prayer for each of you this Christmas day is that you feel the presence of Life itself greater than you ever have. That you choose to accept that gift in a deeper and fuller way than you ever have. That you choose simplicity. That you choose with.
I’m hearing the pitter patter of feet upstairs, so I’ll sign off with a Merry Christmas wish to all of you. I hope today is full of WITH for all of you. Emmanuel. God with us. And each of you with the people you love.