Christmas Songs and Hospice

Last night, my cousins' grandpa died.  His name was Leonard Laubenstein.  We had gotten to know him well over the last 30 yrs as our families are close.  On Sunday, my aunt Joan asked if we could visit him in the nursing home and bring a guitar and sing some Christmas songs.  We were happy to.  Several hours before we went over, the nursing home called to tell Joan that he would probably be dying within the next few days.  And so the afternoon found us gathered around his bed, holding a hand, singing Christmas songs as he intermittently opened his eyes, and sometimes sang along.  It seemed appropriate for the season, but I wondered about the end of one's life, if singing things like "Hark the Herald Angels" was the best thing or not.  Shouldn't we be singing Easter songs or something?  And then I started to see a theme in the hymns.

Hail the heav'n born prince of Peace
Hail the son of righteousness
Light and life to all he brings
Ris'n with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by
Born that men no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth

How silently how silently the wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human heart the blessing of his heaven...
O holy child of Bethlehem descend to us we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today

Nails, spear shall pierce him through
The cross be borne for me, for you
Hail, hail the Word made flesh
The babe the son of Mary...
So bring him incense gold and myrrh
Come peasant, king, to own him
The King of kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone him

It was abundantly clear as we sang to a man yearning for his heavenly home that Christmas is about Easter.  Christmas is about our salvation, and our heavenly home, and about the love of our Father.  What else could have been more appropriate?  I've spent my life learning about Christianity and celebrating what Christmas means, but it made more sense this week.  The beginning of the fulfillment of God's plan, and what that means to both a Christian living out her daily life and a Christian nearing his eternal home and his loving God.


Lois Rimbo said...

Beautifully said. Thank you for posting thoughts about a man we knew only briefly but whose life was clearly a reflection of God.

susan said...

had very similar thoughts about my dad, who died this summer, while singing Christmas carols this year.