Advent Devotional - by Max Hester

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“Dr. Luke”

“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  - Psalms 30:5b

In 2013, my little cousin, Luke, had just celebrated his first birthday when he became ill while attending our annual family reunion. Admitted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, he deteriorated rapidly and was placed on a heart pumping device to keep him alive. Doctors were baffled as Luke’s condition worsened. Finally, after a battery of tests and procedures, doctors diagnosed the syndrome that had weakened Luke’s heart.

Many tears were shed and many prayers uttered, when the doctors informed his parents that Luke’s only hope for survival was a heart transplant. Surrounded by family and friends, they endured the long, uncertain journey into an unknown future. From August, they became residents of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. On January 28th 2014, they received the call that a family somewhere chose to give the gift of life. Through their own tears and tragedy, this anonymous family decided to donate the organs of their child to save the life of another. Luke received his life-saving heart transplant.

This year at the family reunion, I gathered my kinfolk into a large circle for the blessing before our meal. Luke, now four years old, stepped out of the circle and stood in front of me looking at the microphone in my hand. When I stooped down beside him, he said nothing until his mother stepped behind him and asked him, “What does the cow say?” Luke leaned toward the microphone and said, “Moo.” The 100+ family members in the circle erupted in joyous applause. This was Luke’s first “speech” to his family.

For Halloween, Luke’s church hosted Trunk ‘o Treat. Luke attended the event dressed as a doctor! What a joy to see him wearing his green scrubs with a stethoscope draped around his neck and a white lab coat with “Dr. Luke” emblazoned across the front pocket.

The Psalmist wrote “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Sometimes the night can be quite long, but when we endure the night with God’s help, the simplest things bring joy.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for guiding us through the weeping in the night to the joy in the morning. You sent Jesus to bring “good tidings of great joy” to all people. Let it be so. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.