12. A Christmas Blessing from the Flu

12. A Christmas Blessing from the Flu

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

A Christmas Blessing from the Flu

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.

~Peg Bracken

I love Christmas. I love doing my Christmas shopping, writing Christmas cards, getting out the special china and crystal, and polishing all my tarnished silver-plated serving pieces. But last year, the week before Christmas, I came down with a bad case of the flu. That was not supposed to happen to me. I had too much to do.

Instead, I lay on the couch wrapped in the red and green afghan that my grandmother made for me. I had all the symptoms: a low-grade temperature, aching body, coughing, sneezing, and a splitting headache. All I could think about was what would happen if I couldn’t get everything ready for Christmas Eve. I love having the family over for Christmas buffet and look forward to singing carols, sitting in front of the fireplace, and exchanging gifts. How could we keep our Christmas traditions if I had the flu?

“Please, dear Lord, help me get well so I can get everything done, because if I’m sick with this flu, our holiday will be ruined,” I prayed.

The phone rang, and it took every ounce of energy I could muster to lift it to my ear and utter a weak, “Hello.”

The chipper voice of my husband said, “Hey, honey, what are we having for supper?”

I managed to say, “I have the flu,” and that evening he brought a pizza home.

“What are we going to do?” I asked.

Without any discussion, one of our two teenage sons said, “Oh, don’t worry, Mom, we’ll take care of everything. You just get some rest, drink plenty of liquids, and try to get well.”

The next morning, I wasn’t feeling any better and spent the day dozing between sneezes and nose blowing. The guys went shopping.

Later that evening, I heard the door open, the rustle of plastic bags, and the happy banter of male voices. The guys were home from their shopping expedition.

“I think we got everything we need.” My husband smiled as he headed toward the kitchen with the groceries, followed by our younger son, who added, “I even remembered the cranberry sauce.”

Our older son headed toward the couch, holding out my Christmas gift list and juggling an armload of colorful bags. “Mom, we went to the mall, and look — everything you wanted is checked off!” He placed the bags on the floor beside me so I could inspect the contents.

During the week, my husband brought home Christmas stamps and he and the boys finished writing out the greeting cards.

By Christmas Eve, although I began to feel better, I was still too weak to do anything but admire the zeal and creativity of my three heroes as I listened to them scrambling around in the kitchen trying to finish up before everyone came.

That evening, my family put on the best Christmas Eve buffet I ever had. The table was beautifully set and couldn’t have been more perfect. Before we ate, we all sat down, held hands, and Marc, the younger one, said grace. I thanked God for hearing my prayers — and, yes, even for the flu.

~Teresa Martin

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