No money down, no interest and nineteen months to pay, the holiday season is upon us. No other holiday brings up so much emotion as Christmas. There is a rise in alcoholism, abuse and depression.

No wonder we feel the pain of the loss of our loved ones at this time.

I think about the simple story of Christmas. How Mary, ready to give birth, rode on a donkey for days in the cold, while Joseph walked along side to get to a town for a census.

When Mary and Joseph finally got to their destination, the town was filled and there were no rooms available. Joseph like my dad never made a reservation. That would have broken me right there on the spot, “Are you kidding me?” I don’t do well when I’m cold, tired or hungry. Finally, Joseph, being under a lot of pressure, found a stable and among all the straw and animals, a Baby arrived.

Even though they were exhausted and cold, like us, there was an overwhelming joy and pride that wondrous moment looking down at their Baby, having no idea what laid ahead. All they knew was they had a beautiful Son.

They were a typical family. When the cousins came over for barbeque goat, I can hear the kids, “Mom, he rode on the front of the donkey last time. Why do I always get the back?” Nothing changes.

Our humble lives as new parents started in similar ways. The birth of a child and the glorious plans and dreams we made for the future.

This month, as we celebrate Christmas, try not to dwell on the past. I know when you pull those ornaments out of the box, it will at times give you pause with emotional memories.

Remember the first Christmas in Bethlehem. Each one of us is connected through all the years and on the same journey, doing our part in this world to raise our spiritual lives to a higher plane. Some challenges are so much more difficult than others. Our children were specially selected stars contributing to this movement. Think of all the blessings and good that have come from their short time here. We don’t understand the whys of loss, but know when we decide to leave, it is the right time and the right place even though our human minds cannot grasp that reality.

On this Christmas day, remember that like the first Christmas our babies were born a shinning, angelic force to this world. God gave us these precious human beings knowing that in just a short space of time they would make a difference in many lives. We must remember that their lives were a gift given to us, not taken away.


Vicky Bates

After 18 years of marriage and career, we decided to adopt two babies. My oldest had many health issues which after 10 years led to a fatal anaphylactic shock. I believe that my spiritual beliefs helped me understand that the tragedies we face challenge us to confront our pain and slowly work through it. That is what I did through helping with hospice and watching the process of transition for the dying and seeing that even in the hardest times the gentle kindness of humor is a necessary tool.

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