A few at a time, others trickled in, stomping the snow off their boots.
We started 15 minutes late, but we did have our service, complete with the lighting of the Advent wreath. The couple who lit the wreath talked about the waiting that was involved in Advent – the waiting for a Messiah, the waiting for a baby to be born.
Waiting is probably the part that I love most about this time of year. Waiting and working and rehearsing and cooking. For me the pinnacle is the candle lit Christmas Eve service filled with music and light. It is a celebration of light and joy and hope and miracles. Each year, I wait for this service, fidgety and anxious and oh so excited.
But some waiting contains a note of quiet desperation.
When I was my son’s age, a classmate’s older sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I remember raising money to help pay the family’s bills, waiting to hear how much we had collected. Waiting to hear if the treatments had worked. Waiting to hear when my classmate would come back to school after the funeral.
How difficult must the wait have been for the parents? Watching their child get sicker and sicker as the bills continued to mount, bills that might not save one child and would certainly weigh down the entire family for years to come.
I wish they had known about . You can watch a movie trailer about St. Jude’s .
Not only does the hospital pioneer treatments for leukemia and various childhood cancers, no family is turned away for any reason including ability to pay. What insurance will cover, it covers. The family is not billed for the rest.
I found out about St. Jude’s when my son brought home a math-a-thon fund raiser. He had to get people to pledge X amount per math problem that he completed. Really? I couldn’t see it. Every night he had homework was a battle – hours spent falling out of the chair, breaking his pencil and lots and lots of yelling from both of us. Volunteering to do extra math?
“I have to help these kids,” he said. “They’re really sick.”
I’d have to wait until he did the problems before I’d believe. But he did. And he’s done the extra work for this fund raiser every year since kindergarten.
Sometimes it’s good. Other times, it’s hell. We may not be able to keep the little ones or their parents from suffering but we can do something to bring them light and hope while they wait.
I wait to hear your voice.
What should I do?
How can I help?
Where do I turn?
I wait to lend a hand
to your children,
young and old,
near and far,
those I know and
those who are known
only to You.
As I wait,
to do Your work
with Your name
on my lips
so that all will know
Who sent me.