In thanksgiving for J. J. Hanson, and for his family who so generously shares him with us

A family member, I think one of James Joseph Hanson’s sisters, held up six-month-old baby Lucas for all the packed church to see. They were, as it happens, right in front of the Baby Jesus in the crèche on the altar, still on display, for Christmas season. The church, St. Anthony of Padua, was poinsettia-filled, with strings of Christmas lights. This was in New York State, deep in the redder part that we tend not to hear about as much. (During the course of the day, an assemblywoman talked about the upcoming feast of the Epiphany in relation to Hanson’s life; such observations, drawing on the Church calendar, would be less common downstate.) Lucas was testimony to faith and endurance and love. More than three years ago, J. J. Hanson was given a diagnosis of four months to live. Lucas is living testimony to why you don’t give up even when experts say it’s over. It’s not over, Hanson might say, until God says its time.

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