Pastor Stephen's Blog
Saturday, December 25 2021
An Empty Chair At The Table
It was December 24, 2012 and Christmas Eve was upon us. We were preparing for our annual four hours of love for one another as family and friends and love for our Savior Jesus. For these four hours each year, my family and I would set aside all of our differences, all of our frustrations and all of our grudges we held against one another, and we would celebrate Jesus. Who would have known that this year would turn out to be the most terrible day and year of our family’s life? Well at least until this past years’ experience with the COVID-19 virus (2020).
On this day and this year, December 24, 2012, my mom did not show up to my house for Christmas dinner. Everyone else was there, which was about fifteen to twenty people, but she never made it. My sister stopped by her apartment to check on her, and she was thinking mom may need help with the food and gifts she was bringing over to my house, but instead, she ended up finding mom in bed—dead.
It was the worst phone call I had ever received, and I have had some pretty bad ones over the years. I was sitting at the island in my kitchen elevating my hand because I had accidently cut two of my fingers to the bone wrestling with the carving knife trying to get the blades out of the handle to clean them. The injury happened earlier in the day, and Stephanie had to take me to the emergency room to get stitches.
Well, I had gotten home and was visiting with everyone that had already made it to our house when I got the call. My sister screamed in the phone, “Mom is dead! She is dead, Stephen!” Although the phone was secured to my ear, everyone in the room heard my sister’s screams. It was awful. The thought of losing my mom on Christmas was not even an option. That would be unbearable; it would be impossible. It would be unthinkable. There must be some mistake.
Stephanie and I left our guests and rushed over to my mom’s apartment and found her dead in her bed just as my sister had said. When the paramedics, the police and the coroner arrived, we discussed everything, and the coroner said that she had died at 10:30 a.m. that day. My heart just dropped. This was the exact same time I cut my fingers with the electric knife blades, just after carving the brisket I had made specifically for my Mom. I had cooked her something in the roaster oven she had bought me for Christmas a few years before. This is what she had wanted for her gift that year. The brisket was delicious, but she never got to taste it. I have not cooked one since that day.
This day, December 24, 2012, held the title of being the worst day of our lives, at least until I became deathly ill with COVID-19 and nearly dying in my bedroom at home on two separate occasions. On September 12 and 25, 2020, I nearly died myself in my family’s presence without any warning due to acute respiratory failure from this stupid, demonic virus. These two terrible days have now surpassed it for me and my family.
Now, I am so thankful to be alive; I am so thankful for all of our family and friends, and I am so thankful to be able to celebrate Christmas again in the proper way and for the proper purpose God designed it for. It took about three years to truly deal with the grief, but I have been able to refocus Christmas to the most important reason for the season, and that it our Savior Jesus coming to the earth for all of us. I praise You, Lord Jesus, for all of these things. Happy birthday. Or should I say happy come to earth day?
I know many of you may have an empty chair at the table this year. Maybe you have more than one that is empty. Trust me, it is okay. This is my ninth year with an empty chair at our table, but what I have come to realize is my heart is so full. My mom leaving us suddenly left a huge gaping hole in our hearts, but over time we have allowed Jesus to fill that void with His love and grace. I know you have heard it time and time again, but I will state it one more time, “Jesus, truly is the Reason for the Season”. If you are not celebrating this simple fact for Christmas, you are truly missing the whole point. If you have an empty chair at the table this year, I encourage you to ask Jesus Himself to have a seat at your table. He would love to join you! And because of Him and the first Easter, after a very short time, you have the opportunity to join those who have gone before you in Christ and enjoy eternity with all of them, including Jesus Himself! That is the best and only hope we have left on this side of heaven. Grab it! Hold on to it! Believe it! And in due time, you too will receive it! I look forward to being there with you.
God Bless You My Friends.
Friday, December 24 2021
Enjoy the article of my recent interview with David Gray, Reporter with the Livingston Parish News:
Sunday, December 12 2021
COVID-19 One Family's Journey
Stephen A. Hebert
We have great news to share with everyone! The new release is becoming more widely available week by week! You can now take advantage of the savings just in time for Christmas by buying local!
The book is now being sold at the following locations:
Take advantage of the savings today!