Every year around this time, there usually seems to be someone I know who dies. Recently, that happened to and old friend of my family. Christmas is a hard time for some people because of that. I wish it didn’t have to be. A time to celebrate life for some is instead morning over a loved one.
A year ago today, December 19th, 2013, is the day my grandma died. I honestly wish I had a picture to show you, but there are not many of her. My grandma did not believe in God. Once my dad was saved, through out my lifetime I remember there being many attempts to witness to her from my parents, and then once I accepted Jesus at 13, I would attempt to witness and tell her about Jesus. But my grandma was stubborn, like most of us are, and wanted nothing to do with God. She led a life that I once feared of following in her footsteps down a dangerous path, until I found Jesus. He changed my life.
Through out the years, I didn’t see my grandma. She had had dementia for a while, and eventually it put her in a state like a vegetable. I don’t know how any other way to describe her condition. She did not eat, talk. She could no longer see. Her mind became dull and inactive. No one could have a conversation because she just did not understand, nor would she respond back. She had a small stroke. The doctors told my parents that at her age ( 92 ) and condition that she could probably die at anytime. With that knowledge, my mom took my brother and I to go see her in the nursing home one last time to see her. At this point, I believe it had been eight years since the last time I had seen her. And seeing her physically, I could not believe it was her. That was not her body. I don’t know who it actually was, but it was nothing like I could remember. I remember my mom speaking loudly to her, trying to get her attention, but of course my grandma gave none. Just the constant movement of her head and eyes, not looking any anything particular. My brother and I said hello, but of course she didn’t know we were even there.
Only a few minutes passed before we were ready to leave. I looked at my grandma and remembered all the times she said she didn’t need God. I remember the times she would turn her head away from a preacher on television, and prayer over a meal. I even remember when she told me to marry a man who has lots of money. I’d talk back to her and say,” No, I’ll marry for love.” But she wouldn’t believe me. Now here she is, almost lifeless towards her end. I really wondered if she at all thought about how much more she needed God now?
I’ve learned through the past couple years just how powerful the name of Jesus is. Just to say His name can change a lot in a spiritual atmosphere that we do not understand. The image of the Invisible, but so real in our lives. I wanted my last words to my grandma to be Jesus. So as my mom and brother were leaving, I knelt down to the level of my grandma’s head. She was laying flat in a bed at this point. She didn’t look at me, but I at her, and I said, “Good-bye grandma. Jesus loves you.” And suddenly, there is my grandma, who cannot see, looked at me with her blue-grey eyes right into mine and stared. It was this moment of, “What just happened?” All I could think about was that when I said Jesus, she looked right at me. That is something I will always carry with me, that there is Hope in the name of Jesus. Eight months later, my grandma died.
I do not know the state my grandma was in. Only God knows. But what I do know, is that the name of Jesus goes deeper and more powerful than I could ever imagine. I truly believe that for that one moment, my grandma understood something, and that was Jesus. As far as her heart, that is something only God knows and I will know one day. But what I want to share to everyone is; this amazing time we celebrate the birth of our Savior, He is the hope to all in all great joy and great loss. Jesus came to a temporary world to give eternal life. The celebration of His birth is just the beginning of it, with it being finished 33 years later with His death on the cross. And then three days later, He conquered death for all time.
Hold on, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus is our Hope. He is our love. He is our joy and life at Christmas time.