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A Christmas Prayer

A holiday wish fills a mother with hope during a difficult battle with cancer.

Christmas Eve 2001.

Normally I loved to decorate the tree with my youngest daughter, Kristy, and wait for my six older children to arrive. But now, sitting in the living room, I couldn’t shake the desolation I felt. I’d been diagnosed with lung cancer and the prognosis wasn’t good.

What will Kristy do without me? She’s only 17. She’d already lost her dad to cancer five years before. This will be too much.

“Hi, Mom,” Kristy said, jarring me out of my thoughts. “Here’s my Christmas list.” She handed me the paper then left. I’d asked Kristy for her list weeks ago. I was surprised she’d taken so long. Then I began to read. It wasn’t a typical list. She was telling me she wanted me to be well. I cried as I read her last request: “I wish my dearest mother will be with me for so many more years, with so much more time and so many more happy memories.” I put the page down. Lord, please take care of my girl. I felt a glimmer of hope. Christmas that year was not as sad as I’d feared.

But in early spring I took a turn for the worse and had to go in for surgery. My kids came to the hospital. When I saw Kristy my heart ached. I knew she’d take it the hardest if I didn’t come through this. Soon after the doctors came for me.

Hours later I awoke and saw Kristy next to me. “Hi,” she said, kissing me through her tears of joy. All the tumor that had collapsed my lung came out easily when the doctors operated. My lung re-inflated and was functioning normally. The doctors thought they’d gotten everything. My prognosis was much better.

Today I’m healthy at 66. Kristy just finished college. This Christmas, as with the last five, I will take joy in the celebration of Christmas—a celebration of life—and prayers answered.

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