Gilland: Hope for a different Christmas this year

I have a very different reason for being excited about the arrival of Christmas week this year. No, there is no anticipated gift that is driving this excitement.

It is just this: Exactly one year ago this week, I came down with COVID-19. And, being the sharing husband that I am, I gave it to my wife as well.

Needless to say, by this time last year I was feeling pretty badly, but I had no clue as to what the week ahead would bring. On one of the most joyous days in our family’s calendar—Christmas Eve—my temperature spiked to 104, and friends, I felt awful!

It stayed at that level on and off through Christmas Day. Altogether, my too-high temp of at least 102 lasted 15 consecutive days, with those two days of 104 thrown in as undesired Christmas glitter.

Still, we realized even then that we were fortunate. Despite more muscle aches and fatigue than I ever thought possible, plus the uncomfortably high fever, we were still much better off than many who have fought this nasty plague during the past two years.

I never had any difficulty in breathing, nor did I have to be hospitalized. My wife got better after five days, and only lost her sense of smell for one day.

While we never saw this sickness coming, its memory is etched in my mind’s rear-view mirror. And the lessons learned are equally inculcated in my heart.

Truth is, none of us can ever be sure of what the next month will hold or have a rock-solid confidence that our health will hold. There is a measure of suffering and uncertainty that we all face in life. That truth is a concrete reality that we just need to accept.

One distinct and pleasant memory of last Christmas does linger, and I will never forget this one. My daughters who live in town, along with a friend who we (in our hearts) have adopted, plus one son-in-law, and our granddaughter all showed up at our front yard—a safe distance from our front door. From the sidewalk, they took on the mantle of carolers, and sang some of our favorite Christmas songs. This dad had tears streaming down, as I so wanted to hug their necks. But we couldn’t.

Still, their beautiful faces provided a fresh illustration to Cindy and me of how blessed we were, even though we were suffering through that momentary affliction.

Yes, we are trusting and believing for a healthy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year. I am also praying for that for you.

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