Carol is entering her fourth week of labyrinthitis which began suddenly with severe dizziness and vomiting and now requires weeks of rest as she tries to gain balance by retraining the brain to use her still-functioning right ear. It's all required immense patience. I have reminded myself about my sermon on joy in suffering - of perseverance producing character and hope Well, maybe.... eventually.
Of course, she has missed all the planned seasonal events so far these past weeks. Our church house-group met without us last week for their Christmas meal. On Sunday morning I was in church on my own again when after the service one of the group asked me to go into the church porch. It felt mysterious because a couple of other group members were waiting there clearly looking around for others to join us with no one saying anything. A Quaker waiting experience.
Then, when numbers were complete, one of the group told me that at their Christmas evening they had talked about how they might show their love to us in a practical way. From behind a screen they produced a very large (heavy) open box covered in bright Christmas paper. Looking inside took my breath away. Together they had assembled food and treats with everything tailored to Carol's food allergies. Chicken, salmon, puddings, drinks, nuts, dairy free chocolate, diet Cokes, candles, baubles for the tree, plus some specials for me like home-made apple crumble deserts with custard. And more. I tell you, I was speechless. It was quite wonderful. Quite wonderful.
Carol was near to tears when she saw me stagger in and looked in the parcel at the purpose chosen goodies. She took them out one-by-one marvelling that they were just right. There was a popular book a few years ago called The Purpose Driven Church. Well, this was a purpose-driven gift powered by love and such care. Carol said you have to post on the blog: Christmas love because this is so wonderful to receive. And so appropriate when we remember the greatest Love that came down at Christmas in Jesus.