Part of the St. Dymphna Ministry, each week I will post an Advent reflection to help guide us through this season as caregivers, as those living with dementia, and as a community.

Week Two

It is always a ritual process for me, decorating for Christmas, especially putting up the nativity.  As I look at the decorations I have, I think of the stories each one holds. I am reminded of what Christmas was like, before my Grandmother’s dementia, before my Grandfather’s stroke, before the loss of 3 of my Grandparents, and the loss of family. Putting out my nativity, figurine by figurine, I finally pick up one of my favorites, the Little Drummer Boy and place him close to the Holy Family. 

Isaiah 41: 13-20 “I am your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” 

As the song goes, he does not have a gift to give Jesus except for his drumming. He is a boy, he is poor, yet God has helped him find a gift for Jesus. His gift is playing the drums, bringing great joy and beauty. His playing is enough. His purpose at that moment is to use what God has given him in the place where God has called him. As caregivers we can frequently feel like the Little Drummer Boy, going into a loved one’s home, a client’s or resident’s room, feeling empty, inadequate, and fearful. God is meeting us in that room. He has already provided us with the tools and gifts we need to bring joy and beauty to the individual in front of us. Our gifts and our purpose are never small in His eyes. Each one of us uniquely created and placed in one another’s lives for a reason. During this Advent season may we not fear the unknowns of the season, or fear we are not doing enough or the “right thing” for our loved ones. God is already with us, all we have to do is show up and will the good of the other. 

Heavenly Father, help us to see the great gifts you have placed within and around us. Help us to find calm knowing that you will help us through the unknowns of this time. Help us to create the spirit of your love and light to each individual we care for during the Advent and Christmas season. May we always be open to knowing that you are always with us, all we have to do is trust that you are here to help guide us. Give us the strength to get through this season, not frazzled or burnt out come the 25th, but filled with joy knowing our presence and love for another is enough. Amen

Published by Kathryne Fassbender

Creative Gerontologist, Speaker, Catholic Innovator. I am also the granddaughter of someone who lived with Vascular Dementia.

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