Wesley United Methodist Church
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Faith ~ Hope ~ Love
Children, Cancer and Christmas
by Pastor Sheryl Ashley

You may have noticed my picture changed this time. I’ve changed. When I looked at that woman with the carefree smile and the carefully curled head of hair, I found myself missing her but knowing she has moved on to another frame of life. It is time to let go. Now her image reflects what I call “smoke and mirrors” or rather “hats and fake hair.” And that’s ok for now. It’s actually a creative challenge to appear a little different from the norm. Life moves on and we trust there are greater things ahead.
    I am very blessed that as I am dealing with cancer I am surrounded by the 5 grandchildren next door who are accompanying me on this journey. They seem quite determined to get me through it even though they struggle to understand it. At the first I spoke to them lined up on the couch, telling them that I had cancer and they would need to keep healthy as the medicine I was taking meant I couldn’t be around sick people and risk getting sick myself, and also that I would be losing my hair, which I did…finding that “warm hats and fake hair” are not all that bad to wear in the winter.
   The other day my 4 year old granddaughter, Amara, who is an insightful child in every way, was playing with her dolls at the foot of my recliner where she likes me to watch her. Suddenly she look at me thoughtfully and said, “Gramma, is that a wig and did your hair go away?”  To which I answered honestly, “Yes.” She said, “I want to see.”
I considered how she might feel seeing me without hair, so I said, “You might be scared.”  She replied, “Nope, I won’t!”
So I lifted my “lid” and she looked briefly and then went back to playing with her dolls.  Soon she looked up having considered it all and with a quizzical smile on her face as if to make a joke, said to me, “That WAS pretty creepy…” We both laughed and I thought how honest and accepting is a child and how children understand so much more than we think if we are open with them first. 
     It was a brilliant move for Jesus to come in the flesh of a child. The world would have expected  someone grand, born in the image of King David to come riding in to take charge of his Jewish clan once more…Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, etc. and so he was, but first He was a baby, born of an unmarried virgin, seemingly defenseless and vulnerable, but accepting of who we are and able to show us God from a child’s view in strength and beauty and truth. 


      As Charles Dickens said, “It is good to be children sometimes and never better than Christmas when its mighty founder was a child himself.”  Cancer and Christmas seem words that should not go together but Children are a mighty force for finding a source of joy in all situations and help in singing their “Joy to the World” songs in the midst of hard times. For they, like Jesus, encourage us to trust there are greater things ahead.