Some Perspective for Christmastime

December 26th, 2023 1:27 PM

Seventeen years ago this week, I started the day losing my job and ended the day looking my wife in the eyes to tell her she was going to die.

Doctors thought they had found a very aggressive form of cancer in her lungs. She had, in their estimation, six months. Thankfully, before the end of the next day, they realized they had misdiagnosed my wife. Within 72 hours, my job had been saved.

But those hours were hard, harder because of a 1-year-old and five days before Christmas.

There were a few lessons learned in all of this. First, God is good. Second, the “peace that transc ends all understanding” is a very real thing that is hard to explain but can be obvious when felt. Third, life is neither fair nor easy.

In 2016, doctors diagnosed my wife with lung cancer. It is stage 4 of a genetic form of lung cancer. There is no cure. She takes a pill every day that keeps the tumors from growing. The pill should work for two years. For her, it has worked for seven. In 2016, my wife expected never to see her child walk across the graduation stage from high school. Instead, my wife began a new orbit around the sun last Monday. In five months, our daughter will graduate high school.

Providentially, had my wife not been misdiagnosed in 2006, doctors would have never known in 2016 that she might have lung cancer. The Mayo Clinic, which discovered the local hospital’s diagnosis in 2006 was actually a misdiagnosis, realized in 2016 that cancer might be present.

In that awful day in 2006 when I had to look my wife in her eyes and tell her she was going to die, I did not then know in that terror, God had blessed us. Only a decade later, with two kids, did it ever hit us that but for that day in 2006, the cancer discovered in 2016 would have gone unchecked until it was too late to manage it.

Atheists regularly ask me how on earth I could believe in a God who would give my wife cancer or let her get cancer. My answer is very simple.

We live in a fallen world. The foundation of all evil, disease, despair, illness, and corruption of our bodies, each other, and this planet is sin. It so polluted the earth that God wiped out all but Noah and his family. But they were still sinners and allowed the foul stench of sin to spread again.

God offers us no reprieve from our fallen condition except Him. And He loves us so much, though He will not yet allow us an escape from the fall, He came to earth as a newborn baby, lived a perfect and blameless life, died the death of a sinner so vile the sun refused even to shine on Him, and conquered death that though we die, we will live.

God wants a relationship so badly with us, He sacrificed His only Son for us and that Son overcame death so we can have eternity.

This life is not fair. It can be cruel, cold, and miserable. But there is also in it great joy. And those of us of faith turn our attention to the Christmas joy and its meaning this week.

We have what no one else has -- the hope of the resurrection and that hope is not wishful thinking as we hope for the winning lottery ticket. The word, from Greek, is better translated as “profound certainty.”

We have the profound certainty of the resurrection of Christ and the life eternal because God loves us so much, He sent his Son, born to die that we might live.

I’ll take it, and I will remind you that we who have this eternal life and joy should do a better job acting like it all the time -- so much so in our response to others and life’s challenges that those around us wonder why, in the trials of life, we smile and, in that wonder, might see Christ reflected in us. Merry Christmas.

To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at