So I watched the cantata online instead. Even though my tinny speakers could not do justice to our wonderful choir and orchestra, it was mostly a blessing. But I have to say that it was heartbreaking, too, to not be a part of the congregation, to not hear the magnificent “O Holy Night” in person, to not join these dear fellow believers in beloved carols from “Joy to the World!” to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
But, Lord willing, this situation is only temporary for me. It’s not temporary for the tens of thousands of elderly people who are likely permanent shut-ins. Whether they live in their own homes or in facilities, many are left with not much more than memories of the joy of worshipping and fellowshipping with other believers.
Depending on their TV providers, perhaps they can find a televised service or two each week. But it’s never the same as being there. Some are fortunate enough to have pastors who visit them now and then. And a few are blessed to live in facilities staffed by Activities professionals who are Christian, in which case they’ll probably be treated to regular on-site worship services.
Which brings me to the point of writing about this today.
First, if you are helping a Christian loved one find an assisted-living facility or nursing home, please be sure to investigate the spiritual food that will be furnished just as fervently as you inspect the dietary situation. While having decent food is of course important to anyone, it’s the spiritual food that will help sustain him or her through the toughest trials in the days and weeks to come.
And second, if you are a believer with the time and the physical ability, consider delivering your own spiritual food to residents of a nursing home in your area. You may not be able to provide the choir, the sermon, the Bible study or the fellowship of a large group of long-time brothers and sisters in Christ. But you can provide reasonable facsimiles of all these things on a much smaller and more personal scale. You’ll find some ideas here.
I hope you’ll think about it, if you’re not doing it already; you’ll be able to bring joy to some very special people, and in return your heart will be blessed many times over.