Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Christmas Miracle

I wasn't really sure about this Christmas. Perhaps that's why I've been silent this month. It's hard to read everyone's blogs about the happiness, celebrations, and traditions of Christmas when my own heart has been breaking, worrying, wishing, and praying. My brother's one wish was to come home from the hospital, be around his family, and maybe share this Christmas in a familiar, loving place. When every breath is a painful, exhausting struggle for him, it is so hard for me. . .to the point I wish I could just exchange places. . .

My sister and I are so far away, but Skype has brought our family so close together. We can all sit and talk together, cry together. . . or like last night, sing together.

I wasn't sure about last night -- in fact, I don't think I'm sure about anything. It was so hard for my sister and me to see Ton coughing and struggling for every breath -- harder still to see my sister, brother, and nephew tend to him with such tender love and care. Being Christmas Eve and the first time all 5 of us siblings have ever been "together" as adults on Christmas, we began to sing. Singing was central in our family when growing up. We sang in the car, sang around the old piano, sang around camp fires, sang as we did the dishes, and even san ourselves to sleep. So there we were, late on Christmas Eve when most of the world was wrapping it up for the night, we were just getting started. We sang through the hymnbook, sang all the choruses we learned in DVBS. Didn't matter how we sounded. Didn't matter if we had the words right. Didn't matter if we cried or laughed. What mattered is that Tony loved every single moment of it all. It went on forever. And I'm sure the the angels listened in wonder and amazement as one little family celebrated Christmas together through the internet. The cookoo clock struck midnight and we realized we had sung in Christmas. . . the day my brother wanted so badly to see. We all prayed together and I went to bed exhausted.

I could not sleep. The words to hymns and Bible verses raced through my heart and I wondered if my brother was sleeping. I prayed. I prayed for a Christmas Miracle. The strange thing was, I had no specific miracle in mind. I had no idea what to ask for. I only knew I wanted the Lord to be so very close to Tony through those early hours of this Christmas Day. Over and over I prayed the same vague prayer. . .

And God heard. Does He not always hear the cries of His children????

The news this morning was that Tony is doing so much better, talking, and wanting to sit up. He slept well last night, was so thrilled with our "party" last night, remembered all of it, and is just so happy that we could all be together that way.

Tony's pastor had mentioned to him something about the final week of Christ's life and following in His footsteps, so Tony has been listening to readings of Scripture relating to this. Just so happened (do things really "just so happen????"), I found Max Lucado's book, "And the Angels Were Silent," a beautiful book about the last week of the life of Jesus. I downloaded it to my Kindle (free for your PC), and have been reading nonstop. I just can't put it down.

Somehow, I believe the angels were silent last night as the Lord leaned over and listened to one little family sing His praises with hearts that were heavy and joyful and everything inbetween. Somewhere in the depths of my heart, I know He sat by my brother's bed through the early hours of the morning.

Miracles? They come wrapped in strange packages and tucked away where we almost miss them. I got mine. . . and the strange thing is, I don't even know what it is.
Yes I do! It's peace. A heart full of peace. And Tony? His miracle today is another heart full of hugs from those who love him more than he can ever know.

Merry Christmas, Tony! The Lord has worked miracles through you into our family that has changed us all for eternity! And the angels thought it would never happen, I'm sure, and are silent today at the wonder of it all!!!!!