Blood drips from the face of a marble statue of Mary. A country girl sees a vision of the Virgin in the morning mist. A man is about to butter his toast and notices the face of Jesus. We’ve all heard about these unexplained happenings. Are they truly miracles or simply what we want to see? The atheist would say they’re the result of an overactive imagination – if it isn’t supported by scientific evidence, it never happened. Without faith, you don’t see miracles, but with it, miracles are everywhere.
It was a bleak December. Snow covered the ground, but had been soiled by the salt on the road. The skies held ominous clouds. Another storm was on the horizon. In my heart, December had always been a time of anticipation, but this year was different.
We were a young family just starting out. Our children were age four and two. We’d just purchased our first home, with help for the down payment from my husband’s grandma. One income – a house in need of repair – two kids excited for Christmas – a bleak economy and barely enough in the bank to make the payments.
My husband spent his evenings in the basement, making a rocking horse for our daughter. He also made an assortment of animals and cars for our son. I’d been up in the wee hours of the morning, sewing clothes for them to wear on Christmas. And now the snow was ready to burst through the clouds, making even the short trek to church difficult.
I poured myself another cup of coffee. Woke my husband to get ready for work, dressed the kids and took a deep breath. My prayer life at that time was less than active. I blamed the busyness of motherhood for that. God knew what I needed anyway, so why pray? Besides it seemed selfish to pray for material things.
That morning, as the children played together and my husband left for work, I remembered Christmases of my own childhood – waiting until Christmas Eve to start trimming the tree, because dad said he could get a good deal on the last one in the lot. I thought about cutting out cookies with my sister and mom and being covered up to our elbows in flour and sparkling sugar. I pictured the Christmas Eve Service when we would don our new clothes and shoes and stand in front of the whole congregation, singing the story of Jesus’ birth. Then we’d be handed a bag of hard candy, peanuts and fruit. I frankly don’t remember a single present I got during those years. It was more about the kindness and joy of those around us.
There was a mortgage to pay. We lived a couple hundred miles from our parents and couldn’t afford a trip back home. In the midst of feeling sorry for myself, I asked God to make some wonderful memories for my children this Christmas. I wanted them to feel the joy of the season and know how important it was to celebrate our Savior’s birth. I wanted them to feel God’s presence in their life. I wanted – I – I – I. I was pouring out my own needs rather than those of my family.
That evening, as we sat down to dinner, my husband announced that he got a bonus that day. Only two weeks prior, the boss told everyone there would be no bonuses. There was more good news. A co-worker, who had a cattle ranch, left a package on the hood of Paul’s car. It contained enough frozen meat to keep us fed for half a year. Talk about a miracle.
As we prayed for our meal that night, we thanked God for His blessing on our little family. He indeed does answer prayer and He does so in miraculous ways.
“How quickly we forget God’s great deliverances in our lives. How easily we take for granted the miracles he performed in our past.” David Wilkerson