December 20th, 2005: The other day I was in attendance at an event that should have changed how I felt about this Christmas. Actually it should have darkened the light of the season yet it didn't. I was at a funeral for a precious friend, Bette. She was the kind of lady we all hope to be as women. She had grace, class and beauty. She had charisma that was innate and intuitive. She radiated with love for others. I knew her only because she is the mother of my husband's business partner. The last time I was blessed to be in her company was at Doug's and my wedding reception almost a year and a half ago now. Something occurred almost immediately after our reception. She was diagnosed with brain cancer. We were all devastated. The doctors gave her a six month window to live. In her style, she surprised us all. She decided to show the doctors and us differently. You see, she had lived through so much pain and struggle already, she wasn't about to let the doctors tell her when she had to leave us. Bette had polio since her very young life. She had a limp that you hardly noticed because of the glow of her smile. At times I could see a bit of distain on her face from either the pain or the inconvenience of her limitations but she never burdened us with complaints about her physical exertion.

During her funeral, it was obvious that I wasn't the only one who had enjoyed her friendship. The church was crowded with fellow fans of this beauty. It seems that in her eighty one years on earth she had touched many hearts. Every testimony of her was similar to mine. We were all amazed at her strength and triumph over so much. The service was in keeping with her manner, it was elegant and worshipful. As much as Bette loved her husband of fifty eight years, her family and others, she loves the Lord Jesus all the more.

When she left the earth on that early Friday morning she was surrounded by family. The family can't talk about her passing without tears of joy in their eyes. They say that the Holy Spirit engulfed her room at the alive hospice in an undeniable way. He welcomed her home and comforted their pain all at the same time.

During the service you could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit all around also. It was overwhelming at times. During one of the beautifully sung musical selections it was breathtaking. The song was "I Bowed On My Knees and Cried Holy". When the lyrics of the song implicate that the soul that is finally home meets our Lord Jesus, the sun came blasting through the gray clouds outside and streamed brilliantly through the ornate stain glass windows of the church. A lighting director on a movie set couldn't have planned it better. To all of us there in our reflective sadness, we couldn't help but smile through our tears. We knew if Bette wasn't too busy running and jumping for joy in heaven at that moment she would ask the Lord to send us that sign of His healing love to us. She would want us to know that she had indeed run into the arms of our Lord and was now in her perfect and whole body.

I learned a lot from my lovely friend. Christmas isn't so much about the gifts we receive; it is more about what we do with the blessings we have in our lives. The greatest gift given to us came from our Father, God through Jesus. Our greatest gift to others is how we live our lives. She lived a great life. Thank you Bette. Merry Christmas.


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