All I Want for Christmas Is …

December 18, 2008 | 19 comments

I thought I’d like a new digital camera, a Nicole C. Mullen CD, or maybe one of those tall jewelry armoires.

I would have been delighted to unwrap a new pair of jammies or some vanilla-scented bubble bath.

But right now, I just want one thing for Christmas: For Grandpa Paul to come home.

Christmas is one week away, but his flocked tree remains unlit in the house. The presents are stuffed in store sacks, and the wrapping paper is leaning against the wall. The house is quiet — devoid of the bustling that usually happens there in this week before we gather around the big wooden table.

Time is standing still in The Gathering Place, because my father-in-law, Paul, is back in the hospital. And his wife is by his side.

I want just one thing for Christmas: For Grandpa Paul to come home.

Paul was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year, and this man of quiet strength has rarely complained. He has gone through repeated chemotherapy treatments, long hospital stays and excrutiating physical pain. Yet, he has faithfully worked alongside my husband to plant the crop, care for the animals, harvest the corn, haul it into the grain elevator.

Lately, we’ve been celebrating a wonderful respite from cancer and a bountiful harvest. Paul has been in a period of remission, and we thank God for the blessings.

But Paul got sucker-punched this week by a fungus in his lungs. And now he’s back in the hospital. The doctors are telling us he might be in the hospital for a while as they work to get on top of this new development. It’s a rare fungus, and it takes a lot of care and attention to treat it.

Paul has a remarkable team on his side, which includes a close, personal friend of ours: The Great Physician.

So we wait. We remind ourselves what God says about suffering: how it produces perseverance, which produces character, which then produces hope. “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts…” (Romans 5:5)

So we wait. And we hope. And we ask for one thing. Just one: For Grandpa Paul to come home.

How we’d love to see you, Paul, in your red Christmas sweater, sitting on the couch next to the flocked tree, bouncing grandkids on your knees and holding those three new Lee babies.

But Grandpa Paul, if you can’t come home, then know this: we’ll be coming to you this Christmas. You can count on us.

by | December 18, 2008 | 19 comments

19 Comments

  1. Chris Godfredsen

    That’s all I really want, too, and he’s not my dad. I wish I could have his back pain, that I could be carrying this fungus, that enough might be enough – and yet I share in your hope and I echo your prayers on His behalf. May the whole world join us in our petitions for Paul, for you and your family.

    It’s a beautiful post from a great writer – but more than that, it is a testament to your love for your husband, his family and your God! Will never stop praying!

    Reply
  2. Chris Godfredsen

    That’s all I really want, too, and he’s not my dad. I wish I could have his back pain, that I could be carrying this fungus, that enough might be enough – and yet I share in your hope and I echo your prayers on His behalf. May the whole world join us in our petitions for Paul, for you and your family.

    It’s a beautiful post from a great writer – but more than that, it is a testament to your love for your husband, his family and your God! Will never stop praying!

    Reply
  3. Julie

    Your family is in my family’s prayers….and remember Home is wherever your loved ones are. 🙂

    Blessings, Julie

    Reply
  4. Jesse and Sarah

    I’m so sorry Jennifer that you are dealing with this. It’s so rough no matter what time of the year it is but especially right during the Christmas season.

    I wish I could be there to offer you a hug, but from where I’m standing all I can do is lift my arms to Jesus and ask that your Christmas desires are met. A big, tight, tight, hug through the Internet, from Houston, Texas from me to you!!!

    ~Sarah Cecilia

    Reply
  5. Andrea

    You are all in my prayers… I was encouraged by your rememberance of why trials are in our lives… hoping your prayers are answered!

    Reply
  6. Billy Coffey

    Prayers for you and your family, Jennifer. ‘Tis the season for miracles. And you’re absolutely right: Christmas isn’t found under the tree, it’s found wherever family has come together. Even in a hospital room.

    Blessings to you.

    Reply
  7. patty

    A beautiful post, Jennifer.
    Praying for you all…

    Reply
  8. Angel

    Your family is definitely in my prayers as well.

    Reply
  9. Jennifer Dukes Lee

    To each of you: Thank you dearly for your prayers. For those of you who don’t know us personally, “Grandpa Paul” is my father-in-law. Paul lives near us here on the farm. Paul and my husband farm together. I just returned home from the hospital, and he really has a battle ahead of him. We are trying to determine whether he will be taken to Mayo Clinic for surgery. The doctors here are unwilling to attempt surgery because of the risks involved. Thank you, all, for your prayers. I am humbled by the care and concern.

    Billy, Julie, Sarah and Angel — We’ve never met face to face, but I so much appreciate each of you, and know we are linked by Someone Greater than ourselves.

    Chris, Patty and Andrea — thank you for your continued care and concern.

    Blessings to you all!!

    Reply
  10. Marcus Goodyear

    Praying for Grandpa Paul and your whole family, Jennifer. Merry Christmas.

    Reply
  11. Living and Baking in Boise

    I’m going to add Grandpa Paul to my prayer list. Thanks for visiting over at my site earlier this week. Come again sometime.

    Jenn @callwhenyougetthere.com

    Reply
  12. Rick D.

    Jenn,

    Add me in as another praying you get your heart’s desire from God.

    Shoot me an email when you get a chance – I think we left a conversation unfinished somewhere 🙂

    Reply
  13. superstar70

    I would trade him places in a heartbeat just so you & your peeps could be with him & his red sweater on Christmas…I will pray for him to be home…and if he isn't home by Christmas then Christmas will be where he is…and I know you will make it his best Christmas no matter what & that is what I love about you!
    In constant prayer for Paul…
    Love you!
    tracy

    Reply
  14. girlforgod

    Thank You so much for comming over to my new WP blog and leaving a kind comment. I will add you to my blogroll over there. I may keep my “blessings…” blog here on Blogspot, but still working it all out in my head. I pray that God will bless your family this Christmas as you deal wtih your ill family member. I know it’s hard, but I have learned that it is in our struggles that we truely turn to Jesus. May u be streangthended by His love. Blessing to you, Robin

    Reply
  15. Freedom in the Dance

    Reading everyone’s comments reminds me that we all are connected. When one suffers, we all do.
    This time of year, it feels like the painful times are exacerbated by our desire to revel in the brevity of life and our love for each other, ya know? Things like ‘red sweaters’ are treasured things, too.
    My desire would be to get to our newest granddaughter in NY for this holiday, but that pales in comparison to your desire! I’m glad you’ll still be together.
    Thanks for your comment on my Wordless Wednesday…
    Have a great holiday!

    Reply
  16. valerie lynn

    Jennifer, your family in in my prayers. Know that God has everything in control. I pray that your Grandpa celebrate this glorious day with you and your family. I pray for his strength. I pray for comfort and peace for him and your entire family. God bless you my friend.

    Reply
  17. Lori

    Your family is in our prayers.

    Reply
  18. Carey

    Praying with you that God works big things (cuz He’s a BIG GOD!) and Paul is home for Christmas, fungus cleared in record time.

    Reply
  19. Chrissy

    Prayers for you guys! We think of Paul often.

    Reply

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