Red is my favorite color. I love the St. Louis Cardinals. I love cardinals on the hedge next to my kitchen window. I “loved” the Little Red Head Girl” on Peanuts (as did Charlie Brown) as my second crush (after Darla on The Little Rascals) when I was a grade school chap. I love a red Chicago-style pizza. I love the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard (acknowledging that the General Lee was orange…but my grandparent’s TV rendered it more red, so I always thought it was until I saw it on a different TV. 1980s TVs were not exactly 4K HDTV, folks!!) I loved Redd Foxx (It’s the big one, ‘Lizabeth!”) and Albert Fred “Red” Schoendienst, the hall of fame Cardinal. I love Red Reddington (from The Black List), red hots and Big Red gum. I love Red’s “Hamburg” in Springfield and a red strawberry on a hot day. I love cherry pie, red apples, firetrucks and red Christmas balls on my tree. In fact, red is my Christmas color of choice too…
There are a million websites from a million and one perspectives that explain why red and green are the colors of Christmas, but it seems as though they are symbolic of one thing to be sure: Jesus. (…in many ways as we shall discuss.)
Yesterday I found out that one of my very favorite founding members of the Sweet 17 either was about to pass away or was indeed absent from the body and present with the Lord. I walked by her room as I left yesterday and whispered into the darkness “I love you <her name>”…then headed home. This poor damsel in distress, like most of her S17 band, had a red sticker next to her name card signifying that she had a do not resuscitate order and she was serious about that.
She clung to her last minute to her Savior and fought Lewy Body dementia (a savage form…) like a sweet and sunny soldier to the end. I hate this disease. I hate death in general. In the garden in Genesis 1 and following, it appeared that death should be a foreign concept. Something you could joke about, like a Flat Earth perhaps, or that God didn’t exist…. but not experience!!! Simply unheard of! However, death arrived because of that whole apple situation… and through the preordained plan of God to bring about something even better: our REDemption. Then, a few thousand years later, Jesus also arrived. No red carpet for the Savior. Probably no red at all beyond the blood that was left at the scene. This Jesus lived a perfect life, free from the red stains of sin, and was arrested, beaten to a dark red pulp, and crucified on a red blood stained cross. Little did the powerful at the time know it, but He had died as a substitute penalty taker for anyone who would turn from their sin, replace their red garments with His white ones, and trust in Him. Death was defeated! This damsel knew and cherished this reality and told me so several times. She sang the old hymns while mom played (with varying levels of success) with a smile on her face, even as she sat in a wheelchair, drooped to the side with muscular atrophy with only a airplane nap pillow holding her head up a little and with tremors shaking everything, but her faith, to the core. Rest in your reward, Mrs. W.!! Thank you for your witness, your wisdom and your love. You are the red bulb on my tree this year.
Folks…we have to #EndALZ. Death will surely find us some other way, but it cannot ever defeat us thanks to our favorite reds… Let’s make death find some other way to usher us to paradise…to His glory!
Update: Mom was a gem yesterday. Her speech isn’t great, but I get the point well enough. She is wearing down physically and mentally, but she still loves and is loved. I will bring her the next batch of Christmas cards this weekend. I am up to over 50 now. 🙂 Red is adorning her room more and more each day!
Note: Sadly, there wasn’t anyone with my damsel in distress. Maybe they were there earlier…probably so with her. However, tens of thousands die alone in nursing homes with this disease and immediately trade loneliness and despair for joy and celebration that lasts forever!