christmas eve preaching

After thirty-five years of preaching on Christmas Eve I am not spending the days before Christmas sweating over a sermon. It was always a struggle, one that I enjoyed even as I fell short of the challenge. The challenge included a packed house, many young and excited children, much music and little time for a sermon. In fact, some wondered if a sermon was really needed or desired. Yet on the occasion when the church gathers to wonder that the Word became flesh it seemed strange not to name the Incarnation of the Word with some honest words. So I imagined the sermon as a short form offering in the midst of the children dressed as angels and shepherds around Mary, Joseph and the infant (always the youngest baby in the congregation that year). The results were mixed, given the noise levels of the children and my capacity to find words fit to host the Word.

Looking back I see that the Christmas Eve sermons preached after my diagnosis with myeloma seemed more crucial to me. Perhaps because I knew that my time as a preacher was now limited. I dared not leave the message unspoken even if the kids were noisy and the evening was filled with carols. The Word needed to be proclaimed.  Here are five of those Christmas Eve sermons ...


pomalidomide (cycles nine, ten & eleven)

This week I began the twelfth monthly cycle on pomalidomide, dexamethasone and cyclophosphamide. Yesterday was in to see my hematologist for a regular visit. The good news is that there is nothing new to report since my last visit in August. All is continuing to go well. My blood reports show that the free light chain count has remained below 100 (going as low as 35, rising to 95, currently at 58). This means that the amyloidosis and myeloma is being well controlled by the trio of drugs. It also means that I continue to experience the side effects of the dexamethasone. As you know, it is not my favourite thing! But it is a necessary part of the treatment and the treatment is working.

Perhaps you have not heard the news that four new myeloma drugs have been approved for use in the United States this year. It is an unprecedented number of new drugs, with more on the way. It will likely be some time (perhaps a couple of years) before the drugs are approved for use in Canada. Once approved it is not certain that they will all be funded. While these new drugs hold great promise they are also very expensive. I hope that I will be able to have access to one or more of them in the future if, and when, I may need them. In the meantime, I feel very fortunate to be living with these diseases in the golden age of myeloma drug development.