There is never a good time to be hospitalized, but on Christmas Eve, it's an especially awful time to be away from family and friends and the festivities. There are studies to suggest that, along with medicine, spirituality plays a significant role in healing. On this majestic night, that may bring a lot of comfort to those of you in hospital beds.
Chaplain Joe Brown says, "People's faith, however that faith is defined, does improve their healing and how soon they leave the hospital. You usually go home faster."
As you can imagine, the hospital staff deals with some pretty heavy stuff on a daily basis and the chaplaincy service is here for them too.
Joe says, "We have the time to be there for them. To be present. A listening ear for them."
Joe says often times when people have a near death experience or major surgery, as odd as it sounds, being in the hospital can be like a birthday. One the chaplains are more than happy to celebrate.
Joe says, "Spirituality can cause people to reflect on the inside. What is my meaning? What is my purpose in life? When they are in the hospital it forces us to look at our priorities and what's important to them. People tell me this is like a new birth. A new beginning."
And for those of you with loved ones in the hospital during this Christmas sometimes the best present can be your presence. If you can't be there, know that Joe, or someone with the chaplaincy service, will be.
12 people make up the chaplaincy service at Avera McKennan Hospital, from all different denominations, including one deacon and one priest. Joe Brown is the only full time chaplain at the Heart Hospital,. but 5 others from Avera McKennan also come over as needed.