Even the flu can be a blessing

by Teresa Martin

[Editor’s note: Here’s a pick-me-up for this flu season, even though it happened at Christmas!]

Christmas is my favorite holiday. 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 the flu. That’s not supposed to happen to me. I had too much to do.

Instead, I laid 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 was, What will happen if I can’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.

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 for supper.

“What are we going to do?” I asked as my husband distributed the slices.

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.

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 youngest who added, “I even remembered the cranberry sauce.”

Our oldest 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 postage 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 Derek, the youngest, said grace. I, too, thanked God for hearing and answering my prayers—and, yes, even for the flu. He had His Own way of letting me know that He always answers our prayers and that it was because of Him our Christmas Eve buffet was the best it had ever been.

Sometimes we never realize what blessings our loved ones are capable of bestowing because we are so busy trying to bestow blessings on them.

So what blessings did you receive when you were down with a cold or the flu?

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