St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency Department continues to experience record levels of patients every day. I opened my Ann Arbor Observer, and the Emergency Department was profiled. I turned on NPR, and they were interviewing a St. Joe Emergency Department physician. That day there were 100 patients and only 70 beds. Patient wait times were long. Staff were stressed…and there was no end in sight. Pressures abounded on all sides.

I wondered to myself: How could these frontline workers experience peace on earth? How could they possibly sense the presence of the Prince of Peace? Could God’s peace even be found in the Emergency Department?

St. Luke’s partnership with the Emergency Department this year is no accident. Our vision statement, “We reach; Christ restores” is exactly where God has placed us. We have written thank you cards to the hospital staff. We have provided snacks with encouraging messages. Now we have the opportunity to bless these frontline workers with Christmas cards.

Please consider writing a Christmas card or two at home and bringing them to church. We’d like to keep up our encouragement for these wonderful people. You could mention that we see how hard their jobs are…and that we are praying for them. You could thank them for coming to work each day to keep our community healthy. And if you feel led by the Spirit, you could mention that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is with them, right there in the Emergency Department.

How is Jesus with them? He is there, putting his hand on their shoulders when they have no strength left. He is there, giving them focus when they have to triage patients and make quick decisions. He is there, helping them to comfort a family on the worst day they can remember. He is there, weeping with the older person who feels alone and deserted. The Prince of Peace is there. Because unlike us human beings, He loves to go to hard places.

Look for a basket in the lobby where we will collect these cards to be delivered to St. Joe’s. There will also be a stack of Christmas cards in the lobby if you want to fill one out there. Thank you for helping us reach out to our frontline workers with God’s love!