Every year in December we host our annual Youth Group Christmas Party.
And every year, Jeremy starts out by sharing the beautiful truths of the Christmas Story and how Jesus came as a baby to be the Savior of the world. It’s always amazing to me how quietly our room full of teenagers will sit as they listen each year. Maybe it’s because sometimes amidst the busyness of life, we just need to take a moment to sit and listen to something good. Just maybe.
Afterwards, we walk over to the Overflow part of our church, where we meet for snacks and our annual White Elephant/Yankee Swap Gift Exchange game. I’m pretty sure we’ve called it both names, but the premise is always the same. Bring a gift to share and get a gift to take home, all based on a game of swapping and stealing and just good old fashioned fun.
It’s hard to say if you’ll walk away with something good. Because sometimes you’ll get a boatload of candy, and sometimes you’ll get a rock. Or toilet paper. Or a potato. All have been legitimate Yankee Swap gifts from our many years of playing.
It’s always funny to see the frenzy that happens when a player decided that they want to swap. Those with the less desirable gifts are always the first to try to get their opened gifts to appear as something that someone might want.
About halfway through our game, we take time to honor our Youth Group leaders. We really couldn’t do what we do without them. So we get them up in front and say true and beautiful words about how much they mean to us. And then we usually give them some sort of gift that always seems to be such a small token of our great appreciate for them and for all that they do. Michael was a Jr. High Leader that year and we were so thankful for him and his willingness to step up and help out with the Jr. High guys.
And looking back through old pictures, I tried to figure out what Michael got that year from the Yankee Swap. From this picture, it seems like he ended up with Chip Dip, Ghirardelli Chocolates and a Basketball. Not a bad clean up, if you ask means probably a good balance of things that he either needed or wanted.
And I write this all to share, because I spent a lot of time today thinking about needs. When I drove up after church to visit Michael, I was a bit sad when I walked into his room to find out that he was having kind of a rough day. It seems like it has a lot to do with the way they are adjusting his shunt and I’m pretty sure it’s a normal thing to happen after this kind of a surgery. Michael’s doctors are working hard to find what the best adjustment will be but this seems to be kind of a process.
It’s hard to see your friend struggle. And it’s hard to see the affect that it has on his family. And in so many ways, it was just kind of a difficult day knowing that Michael wasn’t super comfortable today.
But considering all of that, how powerful the words of Psalm 34 were tonight for my heart. If you ever struggle, I’d highly recommend checking out the truths written in these verses. I’ll highlight a few of the words that stood out to me as I read them:
I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
He (The Lord) saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Those who fear him lack nothing.
Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.
Good stuff, right? And it was such a good reminder. Because I think today was a day where Michael had needs. But it was a great comfort to read the promises written out in Psalm 34 because it was here that I was reminded of the truth. God will help Michael. He has in so many ways and I know he will continue to.
It was nice, because while I held Michael’s hand today, I prayed. I prayed for healing and for God to help. And just as I was leaving, Michael’s Neuro team came in to help to adjust the shunt which was something that he definitely needed.
I know that prayers for comfort and for peace for Michael would be greatly appreciated tonight. Traumatic brain injury is a bumpy road, but we know that God is with Michael and that He will lead Him safely through. Thank you so much for taking time to read and thanks again for your support and prayers for Michael.