Christmas and the Communion of Saints

My mother died on the third day of Christmas, December 27, 2009, just a little shy of my father’s second anniversary of death. She would have died in February 2009 except that I’m quite sure that my father intervened to save her life.  After my father’s death in January 2008 my mother continued to live in the assisted living apartment they had shared in Liverpool, NY.  I used to call her every night to check on her because my brother, sister, and I all lived in different states.  One February night I called and found it odd that she did not answer the phone.  I was uneasy about this and so a while later called the assisted living facility to ask them to check on her.  They told me that she had fallen and hit her head and had been brought to the hospital.  I drove to Liverpool the next day from my home in Rochester, NH.  My mother was able to return to her apartment that day and I asked her to explain what had happened.  She told me that she had gotten up to answer the phone and then had fallen backwards and hit her head.  Her head had begun to bleed a great deal.  I asked her how she let the nurse downstairs know that she needed help.

She said, “I pulled the emergency cord.” I asked her which one she had pulled and she pointed to the TV cord on the living room wall.

I said, “Mom, there is no emergency cord on that wall.”

I went downstairs to speak with the staff and I asked them how they had known that my mother had fallen. They confirmed that it was because of the emergency cord.  I asked if they could tell me which cord had been pulled.  They said that it had been the one in the back bedroom.  As soon as they told me that, I knew that my father had pulled the cord for her.  He used to spend a lot of time in that room and there was no way that my mother could have pulled that cord without leaving a trail of blood on the rug!  He always took care of her and it didn’t surprise me at all that he had obtained that favor from the Lord.

Those last ten months of my mother’s life must’ve been important for her to complete her mission on earth. That is why it is evil to hasten the death of the elderly.  God has a purpose for each day of our lives.  That was true for my father who died at 96 and for my mother who would have died before her 95th birthday if he had not intervened to obtain those extra months for her.

At Christmas we think of those we love who have already crossed into eternity. It is very important to keep them in mind and in prayer because they are doing the same for us.  Love, Scripture tells us, is stronger than death (cf. Song 8:6).  What do you think is the prayer that our relatives are praying for us?  They are certainly praying that we will each fulfill the particular mission which our Heavenly Father created us to do.  This will be our joy for all eternity and so we must not waste any day of our lives even if it seems that due to sickness or old age our life is no longer valuable.  Every life and every minute of every life is valuable and is a gift and is a step towards the eternal joy that Jesus entered into time to obtain for us.  The good news of great joy that the angels sang about on the first Christmas night is eternal.  The communion of saints surrounds us, loves us, and wants us to keep that eternal Christmas joy in our hearts!

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