Tis the Season for giving and jollity and all things festive, is it not? I have to confess that I have found it a bit tricky to enter into the spirit this year. My personal festivities have taken a few hits in the recent past: family crisis one year, horrific accident another and then two years ago my Dad died on the 20th December. Nothing like that to make the whole thing a bit dodgy. However, Christmas for me is more than a time of family togetherness and sharing. It is a spiritual festival of deep personal significance. And this faith was something my Dad shared. So, as we embarked on Advent two years ago, knowing that it would be his last, we waited. We waited for the coming of God as a tiny baby; we waited for Emanuel, for God was with us; we waited for the fulfilment of Dad’s faith, for the moment he could hear ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ (Matt 25 vs 23). Did this make it easier to say goodbye to him? Or to miss him any less? I do not know for I did not experience it any other way. It was intensely painful. I missed him then. I miss him still.
What I do know is that joint faith has made me determined not to miss out on the joy of Christmas. So I have worked on forging new traditions, creating new memories, savouring new experiences. But like I said, this year took another hit. I mentioned earlier that I had been referred for an MRI and a bone scan. All on account of a bit of back ache and bone pain. The reality of this is that I was being investigated for secondary breast cancer. The appointment for getting my results was today. One day after the anniversary of my Dad’s death and four days before Christmas. It would be lie to say this did not worry me. Rationally I knew the odds were in my favour. But the odds were in my favour last time.
But I can officially declare that joy can be unconfined! Christmas bells can be rung! Champagne may be uncorked! Today I received my results and my bone scan says: ‘no evidence of osteoblastic bone metastases’ and my MRI says: ‘no evidence of bony metastatic disease’. It is, quite simply, the best Christmas present I could have wished for. And definitely one for my Jar of Joy!
Christmas may now begin.