Christmas miracle, humbug. Sure they are a theme of many Christmas movies, especially on Hallmark. However, it is not something I ever experienced…until that one Christmas when grief was overtaking joy.
THE DECORATING MYTH
Decorating confession: I’m a Hallmark junkie. If you’re like me and watch these predictable and schmaltzy movies you know what I mean by the decorating myth.
People in these movies love to deck the halls; except, of course, for the one Scrooge that everyone is trying to convert. Of course, the neatly stored decorations (not at my house) make decorating a breeze. All the people sing and drink hot chocolate as they decorate with enthusiasm – not my experience either.
Is there really a family like that? Christmas music and homemade cookies were part of our decorating night but to no avail. After hanging two ornaments, my son disappeared to do something important. In other words, he went into hiding and an hour later he was still AWOL.
Where he hid is a Christmas miracle – okay, that’s a stretch, but it is a mystery still today.
THE TRUTH ABOUT DECORATING
Fake fun! My son knew it was bogus and that I was a phony. That’s why he disappeared.
Yes, the truth is I hate decorating.
The kids are all grown now, so I don’t even pretend to like trimming the tree and putting up lights. For the last several years my husband and I figured a way to make this tradition a little less painful by covering our fully decorated tree and storing it in the corner of the office. Pull it out and fluff it up is our motto.
THANKSGIVING DINNER IS DONE AND IT’S DECORATING TIME – AGAIN!
My husband drags the Christmas tree out to the living room as I run behind him picking up fallen ornaments. The tree is in place and now I must fix it to look festive.
MEMORIES AND MY CHRISTMAS MIRACLE
I began to fix the tree, but my heart was less into decorating than usual; you see, I lost my Mom the previous June. Mom loved Christmas and my heart ached from missing her so much. Overcoming any holiday joy was my grief – even anger. I needed a Christmas miracle.
Tears streamed down my face as I fluffed branches and arranged the ornaments on the tree. As I moved to the front of the tree I noticed a little red Santa hanging front and center. Thinking grief was making me see things, I wiped the tears from my eyes.
Shaking hands reached to touch this mysterious decoration. Sure enough, it was real! Sobbing, I held the Santa close to my heart.
My husband, still bringing boxes from the basement, entered the room and asked me what was wrong. Unable to speak, I held the Santa up for him to see.
Stunned, he walked over to me and took the ornament out of my hands. Like me, he needed to touch it to believe it was real. Smiling, he said, “God is speaking. You need to hear what He is saying.”
It was the Christmas miracle I needed that day.
GOD USES SANTA FOR A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE?
You see, an aunt hung this Santa decoration on the family tree in honor of my mom’s first Christmas and every year thereafter it hung on her childhood tree. Sentimental, my mother took it with her when she married and subsequently hung it on our family tree every year. It was a staple of my childhood.
When decorating a tree became too much for my parents, particularly since they spent their Christmas holiday at my home, Mom gave the ornament to me. Happily, I carried on the tradition.
THE LOST SANTA
A couple of years later I couldn’t find the ornament on the tree. Could I have put it with the other decorations? I painstakingly searched in each box. Additionally, I scoured the storage area. Of course, I combed the office too. Santa appeared to have vanished.
Frantic, I wondered how to tell Mom.
When she came to my house to celebrate Christmas that year, I told her I couldn’t find the precious ornament that she kept safe for over 80 years. Disappointed, she accepted the loss graciously and didn’t make me feel guilty.
“It will turn up in the most unexpected place, ” she said. False optimism is not my thing. Certainly, it fell off the tree, discarded with last year’s wrapping paper and boxes.
Another year or two passes and Mom and Dad are experiencing health problems. To make it easier for me they sacrificed church, friends, and the house they had lived in for over fifty years and moved 90 miles north. A year later another move. This time into my home. A few months later Mom moved to her final home with Jesus.
DID MOM THINK OF THE SANTA AGAIN?
Don’t know if Mom ever thought about the ornament, she never mentioned it again. That was so my mom.
However, I couldn’t help but think she was right. It did turn up in the most unexpected place! Although I don’t think she anticipated a Christmas miracle!
WHY WAS IT A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE AND NOT A COINCIDENCE?
It isn’t like I found it in some dark corner of the storage area – a place I missed when looking previously. Nor was it at the bottom of a box that I didn’t search thoroughly enough.
No, it was in full view hanging on the tree.
Not at the bottom or back of the tree. It was front and center. How could this be? My husband was right. God was speaking to me, but what does it mean?
SANTA AND MOM ARE HOME
As I thought about this message, I knew God was answering my prayer for comfort. Just like this Santa found its way home and is exactly where he is supposed to be, God wanted me to understand that Mom was where she was supposed to be this Christmas. Mom is home where she belongs, with Jesus.
I hope she knows about the Christmas miracle and that I am carrying on the tradition. Do you think she played a part? Was she looking down and smiling? I don’t know, but I can imagine a lot of scenarios.
There is one thing I do know for sure. God’s love was in this Christmas miracle.
CHRISTMAS MIRACLE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
This Christmas miracle was about comforting a daughter’s heart. Click here to read a short story about a time God’s Christmas miracle lifted a mother’s spirits.
For another uplifting Christmas story and some ideas for the holiday, check out Advent: A time of Expectation.
If you care to share, I am sure others would love to hear about your Christmas miracles – or a time God spoke to you! These precious times are an encouragement to others.
Have a Christ-filled Christmas and meaningful New Year.
Merry Christmas Mom. See you soon.