If you watch our little – not so professional video – and say, “Hey we can do better than they do!” then I will be delighted! There is no better time of year than Christmas, to share the love of Jesus through caroling and sharing time with our friends in long term care. Hey, this year we even had a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Santa along with their granddaughter elf! So, why not take a moment and join us as we follow the shepherds to Bethlehem and find Mary, Joseph and Jesus, just as the angels said?
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. Luke 2:14-16 ESV
This was the warmup for the real Christmas caroling with some of my friends that starts on Sunday. Of course, you can’t see our little group, but we had a nice mix of memory care, long term care and assisted living together for our music. It is nice at Life Care Center that the wards are separate, but the activities are mixed. I hope you enjoy our medley of Away in a Manger next to Jesus Loves Me.
When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:43-44 ESV
Last week I posted the message, “running out of the cage” which I then gave at one of the nursing homes which I visit. If you missed it, I tell the story of a groundhog I had trapped in our garden and was trying to release him in the woods. It took quite a while, because the animal was so angry at me that he never turned around to see that I had opened his cage door. After giving the message on Friday I asked if anyone needed to run out of the cage of regret, unforgiveness or bitterness, and then we prayed. Then, while visiting with the residents, one man began to share some of the things that kept him in a cage. First, his wife and two daughters had been killed in an automobile accident. Then years later after remarrying, his second wife left him and now with his health deteriorating, he was left with nowhere to live but in a long-term care facility.
Often people who are not involved in nursing home ministry think that everyone there is either a sweet old lady or that they are too far gone to be worth our time. But the truth is that many of our friends in nursing homes are just like us. That unfortunate mindset reminds me of a time I visited a friend who was in jail. While we were just getting ready to end the visit, he said something like, “You know Pete, the only difference between us and the guards, is which side of the bars we are on.” The very same is true in long term care, it is just that their bars look a lot different. They are trapped behind bars of disability, age, neglect and discouragement. They may be invisible, but they can hold a person just as well as any maximum-security prison. The good news is that Jesus still visits graves and prisons. He is well known in hospital corridors and deeply loved nursing homes. But He doesn’t walk in on His own like He did when He was on earth. Are you trapped in a cage today? Jesus gave His life to unlock the door and it is standing wide open. Whenever we just stop biting at the bars and turn around then, just like Lazarus and my groundhog friend we run straight out to Jesus right now!
For anyone interested in my most recent book about nursing home ministry, I am running a two-day promotion on Walking With Lambs, both today and tomorrow (November 9-10). This is for the eBook edition which you can find at