A Christmas story



Imagine this.......

You're driving home from work next Monday after a long
day. You tune in your radio. You hear a blurb about a little village in
India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu-like
virus that has never been seen before. It's not influenza, but three or
four people are dead, and it's kind of interesting, and they are sending somedoctors over there to investigate it.

You don't think much about it, but coming home from church on Sunday you hear another radio spot. Only they say it's not three villagers, it's
30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it's on
TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb: people are heading there from the
disease center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen

By Monday morning when you get up, it's the lead story. It's not just
it's Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you're hearing
this story everywhere, and they have now coined it as "the mystery flu."

The President has made some comment that he and his family are praying and
hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, "How
are we going to contain it?" That's when the President of France makes an
announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights
from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been

That's why you watch a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits
your chest when a weeping woman is translated into English from a French
news program: There's a man lying in a hospital in Paris, dying of the
mystery flu. It has come to Europe.

Panic strikes. As best they can tell, after contracting the disease, you
have it for a week before you even know it. Then you have four days of
unbelievable symptoms. And then you die. Britain closes its borders, but
it's too late. Southampton, Liverpool, London, and it's Tuesday morning
when the President of the United States makes the following announcement: "Due
to a national-security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been
canceled. If your loved-ones are overseas, I'm sorry. They will not be
admitted into this country until we find a cure for this thing."

Within four days, our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear.
People are wondering, "What if it comes to this country?" And preachers on
Tuesday are saying it's the scourge of God.

It's Wednesday night, and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody
runs in from the parking lot and yells, "Turn on a radio, turn on a radio!"
And while everyone in church listens to a little transistor radio with a
microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made.

Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital, dying from
the mystery flu. Within hours it seems, the disease envelops the country.
People are working around the clock, trying to find an antidote. Nothing is
working. California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts. It's as
it's just sweeping in from the borders.

And then all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken. A
cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It's going to take the blood of
someone with a very rare and blood-type, who hasn't been infected. All
through the Midwest, over all channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone
is asked to do one simple thing: Go to your downtown hospital and have your
blood analyzed. That's all we ask of you. When you hear the sirens go off
in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the

Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late
on that Friday night, there is a long line, and they've got nurses and
doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels
on it. Your spouse and your kids are out there, and they take your blood
and say, "Wait here in the parking lot, and if we call your name, you can be
dismissed and go home."

You stand around, scared, with your neighbors, wondering
what on earth is going on, and if this is the end of the world.

Suddenly, a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He's
yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again!

And your son tugs on your jacket and says, "Daddy, that's

Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. "Wait a
minute. Hold on!"

And they say, "It's okay, his blood is clean. His blood
is pure. We think he has the right blood type."

Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses crying and
hugging one another - some are even laughing. It's the first time you have seen
anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, "Thank
you, sir. Your son's blood is perfect. It's clean, it is pure, and we can
make the antidote."

As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot
full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying.
But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside and says, "May we
see you for a moment? We didn't realize that the donor would be a minor and
we need you to sign a consent form."

You begin to sign, and then you see that the box for the
number of pints of blood to be taken is empty. "H-h-h-how many pints?"

And that is when the old doctor's smile fades, and he says,
"We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren't prepared. We need it

"But... but . . . I don't understand. He's my only son!"

"We are talking about the whole world here. Please sign. We...we...need to

"But can't you give him a transfusion?"

"If we had clean blood we would. Please, will you please

In numb silence you do. Then they say, "Would you like to
have a moment with him before we begin?"

Could you walk back? Could you walk back to that room
where he sits on a table saying, "Daddy? Mommy? What's going on?"

Could you take his hands and say!, "Son, your mommy and I
love you, and we would never, ever let anything happen to you that didn't
just have to be! Do you understand that?"

And when that old doctor comes back in and says, "I'm
sorry, we've got to get started. People all over the world are dying,"
you leave?

Could you walk out while he is saying, "Dad? Mom? Dad?
Why ... why have you abandoned me?"

And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor
your son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don't even bother
to come because they have better things to do, and some folks come with a
pretentious smile and just pretend to care, would you want to jump up and

And at the yearly celebration of his birth, some folks
don't want to celebrate, and some folks want to celebrate, but not
celebrate his birthday - the whole meaning for the celebration!

I wonder, is that what God wants to say?


Father, seeing it from your eyes should break our hearts.
Maybe now we can begin to comprehend the great love you have for us.

Pass this story on . By Christmas it will be all over the Internet. And
maybe, just maybe, it will touch a heart. Many hearts. Your heart. What a
Christmas present that would be. "God prefers your availability, rather
than your ability."

Stacy Pantenburg
Fiscal Services Coordinator
Northwest Ohio Computer Association
30095 Oregon Road, Perrysburg, Ohio 43551
Phone:  (419) 724-2200, ext. 2609
Fax: (419) 724-2208

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