It began just like any other Christmas season for Rohan. But it ended in a Christmas day he would never forget in his life! Cakes, Carols and Christmas cards as usual heralded the advent season.
But the rapid pace of events on the afternoon of Christmas day was too much for poor Rohan. They had a hectic Christmas what with attending the Midnight as well as the Christmas morning service. The entire family was relaxing before tucking into their special Christmas lunch.
Disaster struck suddenly. Uncle Louis, hale and hearty, the life and soul of the family as it were, collapsed after complaining of discomfort. He had never even been seriously ill once in his life before. The family was shocked into action. Rohan ran out to get a neighbour to help. That kind man had a car ready and they carried the semiconscious Uncle Louis into it.
As the neighbour drove the car furiously to the nearest hospital, Uncle began to be most uncomfortable lying in the cramped car. Rohan gently cradled his head on his lap and began praying. Suddenly Uncle Louis cried out loudly, “ Lord Jesus, please forgive me my sins”. Within minutes, he cried again, struggling with the words. This time he addressed their kind neighbour and said: ‘ Thank you very much for helping me at this hour.”
The car was zooming on at full speed. But the minutes were ticking, one by one. Rohan could see the intense struggle in the face of his beloved uncle. But he was unable to do anything but pray. Pray he did though as much as he could. A third time uncle broke the silence in the car. “ Someone, please help me out. I cant breathe. Please get me some relief.” A desperate cry for help.
Finally, the car reached the hospital. Rohan and the neighbour rushed Louis to the emergency. Medics rushed him to the Intensive Coronary Care facility. They pumped him with drugs and used the defibrillator and all they could to desperately resuscitate him. But he was in a deep coma. As minutes dragged on to hours, his life ebbed away.
A doctor came out and Rohan jumped at him. Mr.Louis? He said. I am sorry he is no more. He had a massive heart attack – his first I presume. Such patients usually don’t recover unless we get them within the first five minutes. I am very sorry Mister.”
Rohan was dazed and so were the entire family. But as the only adult male in the family, he had a lot to do. Running for arranging the mortuary, calling the dear ones abroad, sending the obituary notice, and so on. He could not sit still and think, that fateful Christmas day.
Later on, he found the time to think back on the events of that Christmas day. He was truck with the fact that uncle had his priorities right, even on his deathbed. “ He first asked Jesus to forgive him, then thanked the neighbour and finally, only when he could not bear it, did he think of himself,” mused Rohan.
An acronym arose in Rohan’s fertile brain: “Yes, our priorities too should be like Uncle’s. Jesus first, Others next and You, last! The acronym stands for JOY: the real joy that we as believers can enjoy,” thought Rohan as he slowly got up.
“Christmas is a time of joy for the entire world” he told his family at evening prayers that night, “ But for us this Christmas we have a different type of joy. Uncle has showed us the way. That we need to first seek Jesus, then help the Others, our brothers and finally look after ourselves, or You. That is the true JOY of Christmas indeed.”
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