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Christmas in the Lamb
Roberta J. Kittrell

As the Christmas season draws nigh, my thoughts go back to a Christmas I will never forget Christmas 1999.

I had retired from my job a little over a year before to become the loving all day, every day, caregiver to the younger of my two sisters, Barbara (Babs). God had taken us on many journeys during that time. She was taken into the world of home IV therapy. Due to her out-of-control diabetes and lung condition, each flare-up of the disease was like a round of Russian roulette. Babs had been warned that the medication could take her into the world of a deafened, aging adult, and within four months, that possibility became reality.

Sounds sad; not a thing to mention when celebrating Jesus or is it?

I had flown up to see her during my vacation time in September 1998. The day I arrived, she had been released from her three-week stay at the hospital to return home to begin the IV therapy. That week I celebrated my 62nd birthday and it was then, crying, that Babs asked if I would consider coming back to Rockville to take care of her.

I gulped, sent God an instant prayer, and agreed I would, on one condition that we focus on living from this day forward like my husband, Bob, and I had done during his two year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Then I explained how Jesus Christ comes to give us life, and that life begins the moment we give up trying to control our own lives and realize our need for Him, the One and Only Savior.

When Bob had learned that he had terminal cancer, he told the Lord that he was ready to go live with Him if that was His will, but if He wanted to do more work in him, so be it. From then on, we focused on LIVING.

My sister had been present when the Lord took Bob to heaven, so she knew what I was talking about.

By the end of October 1999, Babs had been cured of the lung disease, had her disease-riddled, right lung removed and had gone through two one-month stays in hospitals, with me at her side. She was able to navigate without a walker and had no need for extra oxygen. So we headed back to my home in Florida.

From there I flew with Babs to Arizona, to leave her with our sister, Cathy, and her husband, Victor. Upon my return home, I began doing all I needed to do before it was my turn to go into the hospital for bilateral total knee implants. That's right; both at the same time

Early morning, December 21st, 1999, my daughter, Karen, myself and all my paraphernalia arrived at the hospital. There is very little I remember about that morning except that I had done the same as Bob and Babs before me. I had given the situation to the Lord. If God wanted me with Him in heaven it would be my pleasure, but if He still had work He wanted me to do, that too would be my joy.

Later that day, I gained consciousness in the midst of the most horrendous pain. Knowing this, the medical staff quickly brought me pain killers to help ease my suffering. Through it all, I was silently talking to God.

As I lay there, I remembered how the Apostle Paul had prayed that he might share in the pain of Our Lord's suffering. I was also mindful at all times that His Spirit was in me and I in Him, and that He was carrying me through this. I also remembered a scripture I had read in the book of Job, "He knoweth the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:10 KJV).

Physical therapy (PT) began even while I was still on the operating table and under sedation. During most of the eight days I was in the hospital, I had the same person for the PT. Yes, I was in pain. Yes, I would cry out to Jesus, to God. But by the time I was ready to leave the hospital, the physical therapist said, "Maybe God will make me a missionary like Miss Bobbi."

My paraphernalia was not surplus. A big item was my portable boom box which I kept tuned 24 hours of the day to a Christian radio station. They were playing Christmas carols round the clock, interspersed with Scripture. There were also my Bibles, some books, and mementos that meant a lot to me.

When Christmas Eve arrived, some of my family came to my room to celebrate with me. On Christmas Day more family, as well as some friends from my church family, made time to visit me.

But it was actually Christmas and Easter (Resurrection Sunday) rolled into one everyday. Whether it was some nurses, certified nursing assistants, housekeeping staff or physical therapists, Jesus was being lifted up; His Word read and discussed, hurting people being encouraged and others being pointed to the Savior. To the One Who had come to die that we might have LIFE.

Without the perfect love expressed by the Lamb that was slain, even before the foundations of the earth were laid, where would we all be!

I can never think back to that special Christmas in hospital, without thinking of the time I spent with Babs in the months before. I know that the Lord used me to share His love with her and to be His instrument as He slowly drew her to Himself. That Christmas was a special one for my sister too because that was the first Christmas that she had ever really LIVED and she continued to live right to the moment when the Lord took her home in July 2001.

Blessed Christmas, Babs. In God's time, we will celebrate together again.
Roberta J. Kittrell a.k.a. "Miss Bobbi" is a widowed grandmother and a great-grandmother of five. Not saved until age 30, she believes God used the next 38 years to grow her in Him including over 12 years as a volunteer chaplain in jails and 30 years as a caregiver. Miss Bobbi has always believed with John the Baptist who, speaking about Jesus Christ, said "He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30, NKJV). Her greatest joy and heart's desire is to share Jesus Christ with the lost, to be used by Him in His saving them, and to nurture and guide those who are young in the faith.
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