Scott Denny

Green Bay, United States

Scott is a self taught photographer that loves to share the moments in time he captures with his camera. Having a preference for...

A Christmas Reality

I share things like this in effort of being transparent and hoping something I have experienced or thought can benefit others

Thanks for reading.

During our family Christmas celebration we noticed an ambulance across the street. It was there for a neighbor of my parents that I remember from my childhood. Although it looked like the situation was not critical, it made me think about losing someone near a family holiday.

As some of you may remember from other writings, I lost my 28 year old sister just days before Thanksgiving 1998. She died in the arms of my father and I as we carried her from a bedroom to the living room. We were moving her so Hospice could move their bed into the room.

I thought…on this joyous day of Christmas, how many will lose loved ones today? A grim thought for such a joyous day, the day we celebrate the birth of Christ. Well, at least that is what I recognize Christmas as. Others will have a different reason for celebrating the holiday.

Regardless, Christmas Day is a day when families come together to spend time with each other. Relatives travel hundreds, maybe thousands of miles to spent time with each other.

I then began to think about families that have loved ones that do not come to celebrate. Not because they are not welcome, because they choose not to participate based on their harbored anger.

Like always my mind will travel from thought to thought.

Much like other families out there, I have a brother that simply has segregated himself from the family. Throughout his life he has chosen a life of drugs, alcohol, promiscuousness, self righteousness, and entitlement. In his mind everyone is against him. Nothing is his fault. We are only “ok” if we give him what he wants, when he wants it. If we do not cater to his every want, we are not worth spit. It is really sad.

As I peeked across the street to see how urgent the situation was with the neighbor, I could not help but think…what if that ambulance was for someone here? What if one of my folks ended up in the hospital or possibly died? Some one will die on Christmas Day…we don’t know who.

I thought…if one of my folks were to die today, what would my youngest brother think? How would he act? Would he have regret?

Ah…regret. Yes he would most likely have regret. Some of the things he has done and said to my folks, the names he has called them to their face and behind their back. I think he would have regret.

Then my mind jumped…how horrible is regret? Man, it is horrible especially when death is involved. To think of those that harbor hateful thoughts against another, or those that have such anger they allow it to affect their better judgment. To live with regret of unfinished business…that has to be one of the worst feelings ever.

Call me strange but I envisioned one of my folks in a casket. I could see my youngest brother draping over the top of the casket crying that heart wrenching cry, the one you cry when you feel deep regret.

I took another look as the ambulance personnel rolled the neighbor out on a stretcher. It did not seem like a critical time…Thank you Lord!

My mind jumped again and I thought…what if my youngest brother would be the person to die this Christmas morning? Would I have regret?

I thought…I don’t feel like I would. My brother needs the Lord in his life, no doubt about that. I don’t have much contact with him. That has much to do with the life he leads. I think he also avoids be because of shame, conviction, and he knows I will confront him about how he treats my folks.

Would I have regret? No. I would hurt. I hurt for him now. He is lost in this life and he has no idea how lost he is with his spiritual life. If he, like anyone else in the world, would wrap his mind around the fact that life here is temporary and spiritual life is forever…that unless he is redeemed through Christ, he will not spend his eternity in Heaven…if he really understood this; he would live his life differently.

Each year I get my brother a gift. He is not at my folk’s house to celebrate. I never know if he will get his gift or even take it.

I know the gifts I give him are not on his wish list. I get him gifts that present the Word of God and his need of seeking God in his life.

The way I look at it…I really don’t know my brother and don’t know of what he needs in this life. I do know I can see my brother needs the Lord in his life. I know his spiritual life is far more important than his life on Earth.

Sure it hurts to know that one year he tried to sell his gift to my folks. He did not want it. All I can do is give him something to plant the seed and let God take of the rest.

Would I have regret? No. I am making effort to save my brothers life…his spiritual life. Only he can decide on God, on Christ. I cannot do it for him. Our spiritual lives are between us and God. We must choose.

All of this pours through my mind as my family opens gifts from one another. I watch the ambulance drive off.

I wonder what my brother is doing. How does he feel? As calloused as I guess he has become, does he wish to be amongst us sharing this quality time?

Every year we sit during present exchange and during our Christmas Dinner and talk about childhood memories. My parents still live at the house we all grew up in. I had so many good memories…I wonder if my brother does.

The ambulance has been gone for a while now. Thought are still flowing through my mind.

It seems a little dark to be thinking of death, regret, and such during gift exchange on Christmas Day. Actually, it is just reality.

My sister is no longer with us. I know without doubt she is in Heaven. How? Because she asked Christ to be Lord of her life and that is His promise.

My youngest brother spent another Christmas Day away from the family. In the past he eventually was able to get the gifts I leave him. I am not sure about this year.

I know the best gift we could ever receive is knowing that my brother has acknowledged Christ and asked him to be Lord of his life. I pray he resolve his issues with the family before one of his parents or siblings pass on. I don’t want to see him suffer with the regret of unresolved issues.

Ahh…gift exchange is finished. I am saddened by my thoughts but I can accept it as reality. Today is a day set aside to acknowledge Gods love for all of us…He sent his only Son so that through him we can be saved from eternal death.

God sent Christ for me as much as my youngest brother. I pray my efforts help him see how much God does love him. God does not want my brother to suffer here on earth or after our death. At the same time God lets us make our choice.

I thought…wow, what a crazy array of thoughts. All this from seeing an ambulance across the street.

Follow Up
The words above were written the late afternoon of December 28, 2009. I have since been notified by my parents that their neighbor has passed on.

When I became aware of the update I immediatly thought of this post. I thought…when will we see that we never know when our time is finished here?

Dont wait for that special moment to reconcile. Dont leave things undone. Dont let the devil get a firm grasp on your life.

Ephesians 4:25-27
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Journal Comments

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