Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Tom is all grown up and has two young kids. He’s separated from his wife and family. His kids are trapped in a cyclone of pain because both parents are chained to the demon of drugs. Mom can’t seem to get off heroin and Dad has lost his job, his dignity, his integrity, his family, and his hope.

Tom’s parents have prayed and begged him to come to their home. They’ve offered a shelter of love and goodness, and for years he has resisted. After several arrests and the reality of poverty, Tom finally came home. There was the all familiar promise of, “I’m done! This is it! No more!”

His parents took off for a weekend to visit an ailing family member and left Tom the keys to the house. When they got back, all seemed normal, but his father noted a saw was missing in the garage. A saw in the garage, copper and metals, and mom’s priceless jewelry were all on the missing list. Tom denied he has taken anything, but the pawn shop owner not only had the goods but knew who brought the goods. Tom’s dad bought back all the jewelry and Tom just happened to disappear.

I asked Tom’s dad how he was doing. “I love Tom,” he said, “and I forgive him. He is mine.” There was a pause and tears from the heart. “Man this hurts!” he said, “but I love him…no matter what. He’s got to change, but he is mine, and that love never ends.”

Bad choices and broken hearts, a confused soul and deadly habits, a troubled son and forgiving parents. File charges and punish him? Easily, but not in this case. Scream, and hold a grudge? Well deserved, but love’s voice speaks louder.

Throughout the year and especially during the Holidays, we seek so many gifts in material things, somehow end up in an emotional pawn shop blues, and may miss out on the gift of love that whispers with a gentle voice of forgiveness. Tom’s parents gift to their son reminds me of the greatest gift given, the gift of Jesus Christ dying for mankind, who not only forgives our troubled past but also the guilt of our troubled past. With open arms, a loving heart, and an unconditional embrace, the love of God is alive, and is the most beautiful Christmas present I can ever wish for you and your precious family!