The theme of this year’s Advent devotion is: Do you see what I see? An array of St. Paul voices selected a photo or photos that hold very special memories to them, then sat down and reflected on what that photo means to them. What do they see and remember that others may not when looking at this photo? Through their words and stories, hopefully, you’ll see a little of what they see.
Christmas time and the holiday season always hold such special memories. Christmas lights sparkling in the snow, your favorite holiday song on the radio every time you get in the car, and sharing a special gift with someone who means so much to you are “just a few of my favorite things”, but that isn’t the theme, is it? What we are focusing on this season is “Do you see what I see?” For myself, these two photos represent my two favorite families: my traditional family and my work family.
Family presents itself in many different ways. My traditional family (think blood, marriage, in-laws, you get the gist) and my work family. Having spent many years working in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), my holiday memories in the hospital are just as strong as the ones spent with family. Holidays in the hospital are a constant reminder of the blessings of life and our continued service to others. Caring for others during the holidays always felt like a gift to give, a warm hug or extra time spent with a patient filled my soul as much as I hope helped heal theirs. A simple reminder that it isn’t what you give but the moments you share.
Time spent in the hospital always means time away from my family, but we have adapted. I am lucky enough to have very understanding family members and we frequently celebrate the holiday on another day when we can all gather together. We have all learned to love our time together on our “not-holiday-holiday.” These days we get more laughs, more trips to the kitchen for seconds, and most importantly, more time together. As Mathew 18:20 states, “In fact where two or three have gathered together in my name, there I am among them.” A further reminder that the season is a time to share together, and fill your space, wherever that may be, with joy, hope, and love.
Gina Zelle is a Nurse Practitioner in the community. She lives in Davenport with her wife Tara, their daughter Elouise, and furry baby Maddie Mae (because we all know dogs need middle names too).