Well - what a surprise! After having boasted that this would be the first Christmas in three that I would not be in hospital, where should I end up but in hospital! Sadly, despite having been doing so much better recently, I had a relapse over Christmas which meant an emergency admission overnight on Christmas Day itself. Pancreatitis is a very vicious and painful disease, and doesn't seem to bother about the date on the calendar either.
My experience is not wasted, however, as it serves to keep a couple of 'home truths' before me. The first is that we can never boast of what tomorrow may hold, only that Someone much higher and wiser than us knows what is best. The second is that even in crisis God provides for the needs of His children. The nurse that received me in the Emergency Department is a member of our church and a dear friend. She held my arm and said comforting and helpful things to me as I trudged the foreboding corridors with a heavy heart. Beautiful decorations awaited me on my arrival on the ward, and the staff were so amazingly kind and understanding. Each of them was away from their family too in order to be able to serve me and others.
So - shades of the stable where Jesus was born in the most unexpected circumstances - yet God's plan was being fulfilled in His life. I have much more to learn yet, but I am comforted by the fact that God knows what He's about.