We had already stuffed ourselves with Mom’s Christmas breakfast. Dad read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and prayed. We designated the newest great-grandson to help distribute gifts. Then Mom shared her request. “Before we open gifts, I want us to do something new. Each person share something you’re thankful for.” Although appropriate any time, Mom’s suggestion was particularly meaningful in light of our family’s recent history.
Almost three years earlier, we faced a grim prognosis for our young helper and his mother. Because of acute respiratory distress, he was delivered via cesarean section seven weeks premature. Doctors remained guarded about his recovery. His mother’s situation was far worse, with a diagnosis of severe cardiomyopathy. Doctors performed immediate surgery and placed her on an external heart pump. Miraculously, the baby went home in ten days, and his mother, minus the heart pump, in a month.
My husband and I spent the previous Christmas season in three different hospitals. A six-year survivor of a malignant brain tumor (a miracle story of its own), he suffered a heart attack, probable stroke, and other complications. Following emergency room consultation, we prepared to say goodbye. However, when staff removed his respirator the following day, he breathed on his own and tracked motion and sound. The third day he sat alone and talked. While he still
suffers some residual effects, his progress astounds his doctors … and us. With those events in mind, our thanks rang especially true. What better way to top them than a sing-along led by our lovable little elf? Who needed presents after a day like that? Of course we tore into them with our preschooler’s enthusiastic help. What fun to watch him jump, clap, and laugh with delight when we opened each gift.
Remembering our family’s near losses and the miracles of life that surrounded us made us appreciate, as never before, the sacrifice God made on our behalf. His precious Child freely given … the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection, making victory over sin and death available to each of us … and the blanket of divine love that wraps each of God’s children with peace, joy, and comfort through every hardship.
What a gift! The gift is yours as well. Open it.
(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)
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