Merry Christmas!

It has been a long time since I have worshipped in the pew on Christmas Eve. I am usually leading the service. Since we are in the waiting period for my results and I’m not back at work, we went to my parent’s church. We sat in the back pew because my mother was running the sound and streaming. She handed my sister the remote to advance the slides to the screen up front. This means that with every word or song sung, my sister had to be paying attention or the whole worshipping community would fall behind on what was going on. I was feeling for her and offered to hand the remote to someone else (note: I did not offer to do it). She said, “No, I got this.” I watched as it became a little more stressful. I mean, you really don’t want to miss a slide or advance too early and she didn’t even have a template to follow. She was going with the flow blindly.

So, what did this pastor do? I reverted very quickly to my childhood roll as annoying little sister. I was looking for ways to distract her when the slide was supposed to be changed. My modes of distraction changed with each slide. There was tickling and poking. I slowly had to up my game to nudging her and pointing, whispering, “Look over there it’s crazy.” She proceeded to look, and well, there was nothing. Not surprisingly, this escalated to the point where my sister and I were in an uncontrollable back row giggle. We were trying to be silent, but there was no doubt that the people nearby were giving us ‘looks,’ wondering what they missed that was so funny.

That back row uncontrollable giggle was not actually some irreverent action. It was quite the opposite. It was a giggle of glory. See, four hours earlier the results of my PET scan had posted on MyChart. There is no doubt, I read them the moment they posted.

The news is good!

To quote the results: “No enlarged or metabolically active adenopathy.” AND for my bones and marrow which I was REALLY stressing about, “No abnormal focal osseous hypermetabolism.”


This girl has, NO CANCER DETECTED! Or as the doctor says, “No Evidence Detected.” (NED)

I always thought my reaction would be sheer joy. Joy was not the first reaction. I was caught off guard with my reaction, which was crying. Crying a lot. So much so I couldn’t even really tell others (even like 30 minutes later). I mean, I got it out, but with a glorious ugly cry. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a sad cry. However, it wasn’t a joyous cry either. It was a cry of relief. A complete and utter release of emotions I didn’t even realize I was holding onto.

So, sitting in that pew with my sister, I got to be the little kid who has her whole life ahead of her again. It definitely wasn’t an irreverent laugh. The joy crept in as we had just eaten at God’s holy table together. And in my belief and understanding of Holy Communion, you’re communing with all those who have ever been to God’s table. I got to feast with all my ancestors, friends in other states and countries, and even you. There is so much joy! And I’ll be bold enough to say, especially at Christmas, there is so much joy, even in death.

And as for me, the journey continues and dare I say, “The best is yet to come.”

48 responses to “Merry Christmas!”

  1. Dana Mielke Avatar
    Dana Mielke

    ❤❤❤❤❤ love you Pastor Dana! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

  2. Joann Avatar

    What wonderful Christmas news!

  3. Julia Keepper Avatar
    Julia Keepper


  4. Jennifer Avatar

    Beyond thrilled for you, Pastor Dana!! Excited for your future journey 💜💜💜

  5. Jan LaVake Avatar
    Jan LaVake

    So, so, so glad for you, Dana! I’ll keep praying but I am giving thanks for this good news! Every blessing, Jan (Veseth) LaVake

  6. Susan Shock Avatar
    Susan Shock

    Oh thank you God!

  7. Patricia Premo Avatar
    Patricia Premo

    I was watching on line, heard what sounded like little kids acting up, but did see any little kids. Now I know why…wonderful news being celebrated! I am so happy for you. Praise God!

  8. Patricia Premo Avatar
    Patricia Premo

    I was watching on line, heard what sounded like little kids acting up, but did not see any little kids. Now I know why…wonderful news being celebrated! I am so happy for you. Praise God!

  9. Megan Avatar

    Hallelujah! I am so thrilled for you, Dana. Tears of relief and jubilation – and so much hope for a bright future! ❤️

  10. Chrysanne Avatar

    Yes! So so very happy for you!

  11. Donna Avatar

    woot! Joyous holiday indeed!

  12. Debi Avatar

    A beautiful gift of hope, of well being, of moving forward, tears of joy for you Pastor Dana

  13. Andreas Avatar

    Great news! Look forward to seeing you in person.

  14. Susan Avatar

    That is the best news ever! so happy for you.

  15. Dan Eversole Avatar
    Dan Eversole

    Our prayers have been answered. I am so happy for you and for Immanuel. It will be great to have you back with us. What a wonderful Christmas present.

  16. Shirley Avatar

    Pastor Dana,
    Praise God, so so many prayers have been answered! God has blessed you and our congregation. I am so over JOYED with your news today, I love reading your blogs every week and I have learned that having a good attitude & positive thoughts have a big part in life. You truly are Immanuel Lutherans MIRACLE !
    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, & I can’t wait for your return!

  17. Diane Avatar

    What a wonderful Christmas gift. I am thrilled for you and your family. Excited to see you back at church soon❣️

  18. Terrie Avatar

    Woohoo!!!! And Hallelujah!!!!

  19. Penny Avatar

    What fantastic news and a wonderful gift as you start the new year.

  20. Jodi Benninghoff Avatar
    Jodi Benninghoff

    Wonderful wonderful news! So blessed Gods glory is shining bright in your world. Happy New Year!!! Lots of new meanings in that for you in 2024! Embrace it.

  21. Jan Eversole Avatar
    Jan Eversole

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Prayers answered! It truly is a happy New Year!

  22. Chuck Campbell Avatar
    Chuck Campbell

    So many prayers offered for you and such great news. I hope that 2024 is a blessed one as you move forward in the name of Christ with your ministry and life.

  23. Christina Avatar

    This is great news. Thanks be to God!!

  24. Kathy Gallaher Avatar
    Kathy Gallaher

    Absolutely wonderful news! Singing Hallelujahs!!! ❣️❣️❣️

  25. Billie Plouff Avatar
    Billie Plouff

    Truly blessings from God. Hallelujah!!

  26. Amanda (Bobo) Avatar
    Amanda (Bobo)

    Hallelujah!! ❤️❤️. Awesomely wonderful news. Love you, Dana!

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