A Bittersweet Christmas

Four days after a frantic trip in an ambulance, the doctor entered the cold stark hospital room with the results,”The cancer has spread and it doesn’t look good.” With the family lining each side and me, standing at the end of the bed, there was an unusual calm that seemed to sooth everyone’s heart as my mom responded with strength and grace. “If the chemo can help, then good. If not, the Lord knows when He wants to call me home.”

While walking the hallways of the hospital, each door I pass reminds me that every room holds a story. Many families are faced with life-altering and even devastating circumstances during this Christmas season. For some, one chair will remain painfully empty at the dinner table. Some may spend Christmas with a mom or dad who has forgotten their names. Alzheimers has taken hold and they’ve become strangers for the first time.

Because Christmas is such a special time of the year…a time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior and enjoy long held traditions with family and friends, it can be difficult when our world, as we know it, is turned upside down and everything changes.

Some have bought Christmas presents that will never be opened. Many have lost their jobs and will search for excuses to explain the barren space below the bottom branches. Some will sit in solitude anxiously awaiting a knock on the door. Many innocent children are suffering the pain of their parent’s absence because mommy or daddy have made the jail cell their home.

While Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be a very difficult time for many. For our family, it is bittersweet. My mom has cancer. Chemo may work, but the doctors say it doesn’t look good. It may even be my last Christmas with her. I don’t know. But I love my mom.

This is also the first Christmas I will be able to spend with my new grandgirl. Just six months old…she’s as sweet as sugar and as cute as a button. I love being a grandma and I love that child. So, for our family…this is a bittersweet Christmas.

As Christmas approaches, let’s not forget that there are many in need of a friend, a counselor, a shoulder to cry on, an ear that will listen, an invitation to dinner, a visit to their bedside, a gift for their children and a prayer to our Heavenly Father.

For some, this Christmas is just plain bitter…for some it is sweet. What kind of Christmas is it for you? What are some tangible ways we can demonstrate the love of our Savior to those whose hearts are hurting? If this is a bittersweet Christmas for you, leave your prayer request as a comment and I would be honored to pray for you.


  1. I am sorry to hear about your mom. I am a nurse, and I know the pain and devestation of patients and families in a hospital. So true! This past year, however, my son was the patient after he tried to take his own life. God spared him by His miraculous healing. My son still struggles with bipolar depression though. Every day is a trial for him (and us). Please pray for him (Nick) that he would find the strength to get himself a job, turn his life around, and lift his face back up toward the Lord. And for me to have wisdom to deal with him and help him.
    Thank You, and I will be praying for you and your family also.

  2. Hi Susan,
    We never stop being parents, do we! I want you to know you, your son and your family are in my prayers and I will sincerely take the request of your heart to the throne of God. I know you've been fervently praying for him already, but I am honored to join you in your prayers…In the most powerful name of Jesus…the Great Physician…the one who knows your every need and hears your every cry. He is with you, He has not forsaken you. He sees you and is touched with the feelings of your heartache. May He touch your son with His healing hand, in Jesus most precious and powerful name. Amen. And Amen!
    Eternally His,
    Phil 3:7-14

  3. Hi Stephanie –

    It's been 2 1/2 years since my Beloved went to be with the Lord. Life is returning to a more normal pace. He's still missed, but new memories have softened the sharp edges of loss.

    I'll pray for your Mom and all who love her.


  4. Hi Susan,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I feel as though I know you a little more. Life certainly has its share of heartache.

    Thank you, also, for your prayers. You are a blessing.
    Eternally His,
    Phil 3:7-14

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