A Christmas Story – Part 3

Two days ago, I began a Christmas story that came from my book Bryson City Seasons (Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here). This is the finale. I hope it’s been a Christmas blessing. And I pray you and yours have a Christ-centered, warm-memory-creating, family-filled Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

Evan’s autopsy report confirmed the pneumonia—but blamed it on a bacterium I had never treated before—Pneumocystis carinii.

The report also confirmed multi-organ failure and a form of skin cancer—Kaposi’s sarcoma—but said the cancer was confined only to his skin.

Evan had not died of cancer. I now know he had died of a disease that was then unnamed—HIV/AIDS.

Evan was my first patient with this horrible disease. But, he was also the first patient with whom I shared my personal faith so forthrightly. Looking back over a long career in family medicine, Evan’s case and his decision represented one of my most memorable moments.

But, what his autopsy did not show—and could not show—was that Evan died a new man—spiritually. He had become a friend of God. He had been born as a son of God on the day we celebrated the birth of the Son of God. And, his life actually began the morning of the day it ended.

During that Christmas, at the beginning of my family and professional life, I learned a valuable lesson: all Christmases can be a time of beginning and a time of renewal—a time when we each commit or recommit our belief, our devotion, our service, our gifts and our very lives to the baby born in that manger, sent to be a perfect model of love, who humbly sacrificed his life on our behalf that we could have eternal life starting here on earth by become sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven.

Amen and Merry Christmas.

If you’d like to learn more about beginning a personal relationship with God, check out my blog on the topic here. This may be the most important blog I’ve ever written.

Also, here’s more information on the Bryson City series:

  • Bryson City Tales: Stories of a Doctor’s First Year of Practice in the Smoky Mountains – purchase on Amazon or read a sample chapter here.
  • Bryson City Seasons: More Tales of a Doctors Practice in the Smoky Mountains – purchase on Amazon or read a sample chapter here.
  • Bryson City Secrets: Even More Tales of a Small-Town Doctor in the Smoky Mountains – purchase on Amazon or read a sample chapter here.


5 thoughts on “A Christmas Story – Part 3

  • Bonnie

    Merry Christmas Walt and Barb. Hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and had a chance to be with family. We had a good one here in New Orleans all day with a temperature of 80 degrees .It was the warmest Christmas on record in New Orleans.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your daily posts the last few years Walt. I will really miss them. It’s like getting to talk to an old friend, or at least listen to him, every day. If you ever decide to reinstate them, put me on your list.

    I hope that all goes well with the building of your new home. I know that you love that area and I think it will be a wonderful place to grow old together. Lee and I should know about that because we are definitely growing old together here in New Orleans. But we have many blessings including my 91 year old mother and my 93 year old father. All the kids are fine and Claire will be a senior at LSU next year. How time flies!

    Give us a call if you’re ever in New Orleans. We’re good for a nice meal and some good company.

    Love to you both, Bonnie

  • Bonnie,

    Thanks for the sweet note. Your kinds words and time-tested friendship are precious gifts to us both. I hope you and yours had a Christ-centered, warm-memory-creating, family filled Christmas and have a most Blessed New Year. Give Lee and the boys a hug from us!


  • Fannie Wiggins

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year. I always look forward to this Christmas story every year. We bought all our flowers from Evan. He was a good man and his life choices made no difference to us. We were saddened by his passing but never knew about his becoming a Christian until I read your post a year or so ago. Knowing that made me very happy. I thank you for sharing this story each year. God bless you and your wonderful family.

  • Fannie,

    Thanks for the feedback and for sharing your experience with Evan. We’ll see him again!

    I hope you and yours have a Christ-centered, warm-memory-creating, family filled Christmas and a Blessed New Year.


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