By President and CEO Bruce Shogren
As I look forward to the holiday season, one word is key to this season: “believe.”
I truly believe in three key people: Jesus Christ, Santa Claus and the employees of the Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America system.
What could be more important than Christmas Day, the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ? I grew up in a church in which every Sunday we would state our belief by reciting the Apostles’ Creed.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.
This belief statement says it all for me and has been the guiding statement throughout my life. It has given me the ability to believe in the power of prayer which has really been needed daily as my wife was healing in the hospital and at home. This Christmas season, I pray you reflect on that night long ago when Jesus was born and you continue to realize the impact his birth has had on all our lives.
My second key belief is in the spirit of Santa Claus. Santa has always been a big part of my family’s Christmas celebrations, dating back to when I was a little one. Santa has always come out of the fireplace in the house I grew up in in Lindsborg, Kansas. It is quite the spectacle to see the Jolly Old Elf come out of PaPa Har’s (my dad’s) fireplace to deliver gifts to all the good girls and boys of the Shogren family after losing his pants once again. “Har, when are you going to fix your chimney,” Santa states every year to the delight of all in the room. You have to be there to really experience it and believe it.
But the actual thrill in believing in the spirit of Santa Claus is to be a “Santa Helper.” To see the joy in the eyes of a child when he or she sits on Santa’s lap, to experience a surprise appearance by Santa is unforgettable whether it is to children or adults, to give an unexpected and thoughtful gift which says “I know you” is pure happiness for the giver, the receiver and those watching, and the best is when someone will ask with a wink and whisper in Santa’s ear, “Who are you, really?” and Santa gets to tell them the truth: You are really Santa Claus. Priceless!
Finally, my third and final belief is in the employees of the PMMA system in providing the care and services to you. Being on the side of receiving care in the past year by a caring hospital nursing and health care staff, I appreciate even more the PMMA staff throughout our system that daily provide the health care, friendship, caring and a whole lot more to you, our residents. Please join me in thanking your community’s staff for their commitment to our mission, providing quality senior services guided by Christian values.
As I close my letter, let me wish that you know the blessing of being a child of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, the joy of caring for others, and that you still hear the bell ring and truly believe.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!