Pastor John

Pastor John

Dishwashing For Love

CBS News reporter Caitlan O’Kane related a story back in July that reveals the heart of Christmas.

Mary Daniel hadn’t seen her husband for 114 days due to coronavirus restrictions at the senior care facility where he lives. Her husband, Steve, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s seven years ago and moved into a care facility in Jacksonville, Florida.

Mary visited her husband every night and would get him ready for bed. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, health facilities restricted visitors as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to vulnerable patients. The facility closed to visitors on March 11—the last time Mary saw Steve as a visitor.

Mary was worried about her husband spending so much time alone and said she was “desperate” to find another way to stay connected. She said, “We have separated these folks to save them, but … the isolation will absolutely kill them. Especially dementia patients: they need interaction. They need to be touched … so that they can grow instead of just wither away.”

Then Mary said, “Out of the blue…the corporate office of his memory care center called me and said, ‘We’ve got a part-time job available; would you like to take it?’” Mary was willing to do any job they offered for the chance to get inside, and what they ended up giving her was a dishwashing position.

The job is allowing Mary to see her husband regularly, and she’s grateful for it. “It is worth it to be able to visit him, and I can already just tell the difference in his demeanor after three visits. I get to go again tonight … it has made the world of difference for me.” She said her husband now feels love—something he missed out on when they were separated. “I’m so grateful … I am so lucky and fortunate. I want to be with him every day.”

The extent to which God was willing to go to get into our sin-isolated world to be “with us” is the greatest story ever told. He sent His one and only Son–a Son who “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God was something to be used to his own advantage; rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, by being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross.”

But even death on a cross could not extinguish his life, his love or his joy. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  

Jesus’ birth brought a joy to this world unlike any other. During December, we’re going to learn the centrality of this joy to the Gospel, the timing of the birth of this joy, and the indestructible nature of this joy. I hope you will be with us in-person or online this Sunday as we start this journey of joy. Invite someone to join with you who could use a joy transfusion.

Loving the joyful Journey,

Pastor John

P.S. You can still get your free tickets for Jingle Jam this Friday at our Lake County campus or Saturday at Apopka. Click here to reserve a spot for you and a friend to enjoy a Christmas party big enough for the whole family!