Another CHRISTmas Eve has arrived, and it is a time for millions of people all across the world to pause and think on a variety of topics.
The reason for the season is, of course, to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, whose arrival was foreseen in the Old Testament by the prophet Isaiah, who foresaw His birth to a virgin. Immanuel genuinely became "God With Us" at that point, and it was one of the greatest miracles ever recorded.
Since that first CHRISTmas Day, miracles have occurred in all shapes and sizes, but those that occur immediately around CHRISTmas tend to stand out and have a little more significance in the shadow of the amazing occurrence that occurred almost 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem.
At the very least, the one that occurred to me did.
I was in an Intensive Care Unit in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, eleven years ago tonight, as my mother was recovering following emergency surgery to remove pooled blood from the back of her brain. She'd gone to the hospital on the 23rd because she couldn't see more than two feet ahead of her and couldn't recall simple things like names.
Her original diagnosis was that she had suffered a stroke that was "probably" caused by a tumor in the back of her brain. Mom underwent colon cancer surgery years ago, and six months of treatment had not captured all of the deadly cancer cells, so my concern was that this lump was cancer.
Mom was carried into surgery on CHRISTmas Eve 2010 in the afternoon to remove the glob that had appeared and determine what it was. Her doctor came out after nearly three hours of surgery to tell us it was a pool of blood that they had evacuated with minimal difficulty, but the question now was how much damage had been done to the brain, if any, and if her speech and memory would be damaged.
I would go to the hospital chapel before, after, and especially during the surgery to pray for the greatest possible outcome. As everyone with even a smidgeon of faith understands, these are the moments that will test your faith and break you down. Fortunately for Mom, she had an army of people praying for her, who not only supported her but also the rest of the family through these trying times.
All of the family had gone to bed for the night in order to get some rest before returning in the morning, so I decided to sit in her room with her while she slept and silently watched TV. I decided I'd just wait in the room until I was sufficiently exhausted to depart.
I scarcely realized that it was the Ted Turner colorized version while seeing the original 'Miracle on 34th Street' with Maureen O'Hara and a young Natalie Wood. For a while, colorization of old black and white films was all the rage, and here we were, nearing midnight on Christmas Day, with this colorized classic playing.
My Mother had been sleeping for hours, which was reasonable given that having your skull opened up and then having a vacuum suck out a leak in your head is fairly demanding. Mom awoke just before midnight and was sitting calmly on her bed with me, watching this movie. I was completely unaware that she was awake, and she shocked me when she asked the question that I will never forget...
I like this movie better in black and white, don’t you?
Her television was about seven to eight feet up in the air and 20 to 25 feet away in her room. She couldn't see more than two feet in front of her only five hours before, but now she was offering her best assessment of those attempting to update a famous classic starring Jimmy Stewart, something she couldn't accomplish earlier that day.
Simply put, this was a CHRISTmas miracle, and their prayers had been heard.
The next day, when she was eating vanilla ice cream, I explained to her that she had a number of people praying for her as a result of a Facebook post, and she glanced at me casually and said, "I know," before going on to list out the names of individuals who HAD prayed for her.
Obviously, she had not had time to check her non-existent Facebook account during this incident, and I inquired as to how she knew this. She informed me in between scooping ice cream into her lips that she vividly remembered names flying up to her, being highlighted, and then another doing the same while she was out during the procedure. She then went on to mention three or four people who had written that they were praying.
There are no words in the English language that can adequately express the amazement I felt.
Mom is still alive today, despite being diagnosed with dementia just four years later. She is an enormous blessing to her family.
She was the one who softly instilled in us the belief that Jesus was real and that we should want to know Him and work toward that goal. Her trust and confidence in the Lord expressed itself in a magnificent miracle for her on the two thousandth anniversary of His birth.
CHRISTmas miracles still happen, as my mother is living evidence, and as I and others have witnessed. I shall be eternally grateful to God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit for answering my prayers on December 24, 2010, for this miracle.
Thank you so much to everyone who has prayed for her throughout the years, and if I can ever repay the favor, I would be happy to submit a prayer request for you or any of your family members or friends. Just email me at [email protected] and I'll take care of it.
The Lord has many more miracles in store for us, so let's go to work asking Him for them.
A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you.