A Christmas Story

by Mitakuye Oyasin

What does a football game have to do with Christmas?

Read on.

Like many Native Americans, I believe that, 2,000 years ago, the Great Mystery poured himself into human form, and the baby Jesus was born. Because of this singular event, humankind was soon to discover that there is no limit to love of the Great Spirit for his creation and for each individual born into this world. Jesus remains as living proof of a love powerful enough to change lives, to restore hope, and to give meaning to what is otherwise a mere existence.

It was during early December, exactly 20 years ago, that a challenge to my beliefs came storming into my life. Christmas was in the air. Plans were being made. The moment of celebration for this silent, peace-giving gift of a child from on high was still a couple of weeks away. Thoughts of the year winding down and the new year coming, played in and out of my mind. Then, at 9:00pm, Saturday, December 10th, my kidney started bleeding. There was no pain, which I was soon to discover was worse than if there had been. The strong suspicion of my doctor on that Saturday night was that I had a malignant tumor on one of my kidneys.

The following week was a blur of outpatient testing, all of which confirmed the original diagnosis. I was told to check into the hospital on Sunday, a week before Christmas.

It was while waiting for Sunday to arrive that my mind became occupied with some trivia. On Monday night of my upcoming hospital stay, the Liberty Bowl football game was scheduled. Halfheartedly, I wondered if I would be watching the game on television, something which I seldom did. Nebraska was playing North Carolina, and somewhat casually, I wondered who would win. (All of this took place while I was shaving.) Then, as clearly as I saw my own reflection in the mirror, I saw the scoreboard: Nebraska 21, North Carolina 17. I was so startled that I laughed out loud.

Later that day, I was driving with a friend of mine, Dave Amberg, and I shared my "vision" with him.

Well , I didn't see the game. And Dave told me that, after three periods, with North Carolina leading 17-7, he was beginning to have doubts. With about ten minutes left in the game, Nebraska scored, making the score 17-14. Finally, though, with only about five minutes left, Nebraska killed their chances by fumbling a punt on their own 26. It looked hopeless, until North Carolina returned the favor by fumbling three plays later. With three minutes left, Nebraska scored, and the final score was Nebraska 21, North Carolina 17.

This became a message of hope for me. The outcome of a trivial thing like a football game was known beforehand by the Great Spirit. Long before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, plans were laid, so that even though there was no room in the inn, a stable would be provided. It would all happen in "the fullness of time." And so, the outcome of cancer surgery was also known, and there would be no mistakes.

It has never been my job to know what tomorrow holds but I do know who holds tomorrow. And he never makes mistakes.

<hr><FONT SIZE=3> This article posted to Zephyr online December 11, 1997<CENTER><IMG src="http://www.misslink.net/zephyr/hline.gif"></CENTER><CENTER><A href=HTTP://www.misslink.net/zephyr><IMG src="http://www.misslink.net/zephyr/baktozep.gif" alt="Back to the Zephyr home page."></A><A href=MAILTO:zephyr@misslink.net><IMG src="http://www.misslink.net/zephyr/sendmail.gif" alt="Send us e mail"></A></CENTER><CENTER><IMG src="http://www.misslink.net/zephyr/hline.gif"></CENTER>