The greatest Christmas gift, life

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At 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, I received an email from one of our company’s key contractors. He had awakened in a hospital intensive care unit, with 30 per cent pulmonary functioning, after an infection had spread from his ear to his face, and then his lungs. Somehow, he had managed to send another email a day earlier to tell me why he would not be able to meet the production deadline, advising his wife would forward the “contingency plan” to continue production if he didn’t make it out of hospital. His Christmas Eve email reported much more reassuring news, saying the doctors “say I won that battle” against the extremely aggressive infection. He will live. He expects to leave the hospital in about a week.

Christmas lanternThis experience reminds me of perspective and values. I can’t imagine anyone hoping to spend their Christmas in an ICU, but believe this year that the contractor and his family will enjoy one of the best Christmases of their lives. He will live for the next Christmas, and hopefully many more.

Life isn’t always fair, nor is it always just.Yet we can live well by remembering the key values that transcend all religions and undoubtedly are important to Christians around the world. While some of us design and build hospitals — that ICU is a structure of human ingenuity and sweat — most of us spend most of our time on much less-crucial work. Yet, regardless of our status, wealth, or vocation, we all have our humanity, relatives, and relationships with the larger community.

Let’s remember these values in the months and years ahead. Maybe we might elect not to tithe our financial resources, but can we contribute at least 10 per cent of our energies, talents and time in the spirit of selfless generosity? I think so.

Merry Christmas. 

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