A Small Christmas Miracle
Miracles are an unexplainable phenomenon, alleged to be performed by Divine intervention or provocation. I’ve always had a hard time swallowing the biblical stuff: Eve and the tempting serpent, Jonah in the whale, the ark that was supposed to hold two of every known species. They say that it’s all God’s word, passed down thru millennia of mostly oral tradition. It’s not surprising that stories evolve and develop alternative explanations after so many generations of re-telling. Have you ever played the party game called “Buzz?” Start a phrase with one participant, and pass it along verbatim to the next. Then, at the end of the “chain” you get to hear how the phrase is ultimately interpreted. It’s a hilarious game, and it illustrates how stories morph into sometimes wild and crazy endings.
Thus, this old curmudgeon takes the reporting of miracles with a grain of salt. Not a denier, just a skeptic. But do I pray every day for exactly what I about? I’m probably just like the rest of us, sometimes hoping against hope – and logic – that the prayer will be answered. As a matter of fact, I really believe all prayers are heard. It’s just that the Great Arbiter alone decides which of them will be answered to the liking of the petitioner. It gets pretty complicated at times, because I see things in this world that need to be set right before they swallow us alive, and quite often we are taken right to the brink of annihilation before the “miracle” takes place.
For instance, I pray daily for a cure for all forms of dementia. It’s personal with me, but I can’t believe that with so many millions of us seeking the same miraculous intervention, why it hasn’t happened yet. After all, we martialed our forces and found a cure for COVID in about a year, while we continue to struggle to uncover the smallest amount of progress in the fight against dementia. As I say, t’s personal, of course. Member of my family, and I suspect that I speak for most of us, have suffered from one form or another of this awful disease. I know, I know, science is working with all its resources straining to uncover the secret. But in the meantime, we have what we have, and we begin to treasure the small moments of reprieve, when we can bring a little joy into the lives of those who suffer.
One of those moments, actually a two-hour period, came last weekend when I was invited to attend a Christmas Party at the care center where my wife now lives. It was the only party I attended over the Holiday, but I wouldn’t trade it for the gifts of the Magi. The entertainment venue was the center’s roomy dining hall. The place was festooned with all kinds of festive decorations. Light refreshments were served while a musician played guitar with tambourine accompaniment. He knew all the standard Christmas songs, and all around the room you could see eyes opening, smiles beginning to appear, and mouths forming the words to all those songs. They knew them all, you see, but over the years in confinement they had migrated to places in the brain where they had to be teased out. The “tool” for this was the music.
Here’s a snapshot of what I witnessed. A little lady who spends her days in a wheelchair, got up and began to “boogie” to Feliz Navidad. People whose demeanor was otherwise expressionless, stood up and shook their booties in time to the music. Others clapped their hands joyfully, and squealed with delight when Santa Clause appeared with a bagful of presents. No resident was overlooked in this process, and people who never have had a visitor were “chaperoned” by a designated staff member, so that no one was overlooked. A woman who does nothing but make “keening” sounds as she wanders about, broke into a big smile and said “I love you” when her granddaughter appeared.
My wife and I sat holding hands and sometimes singing along while clapping and looking at each other often. I could see the joy in her eyes, which lately had begun to lose their old luster, and my heart filled to bursting when she leaned my way and said tenderly, “Isn’t it nice to be in love?”
That was my Christmas miracle. My days of discouragement and depression became all worthwhile in an instant, and I was transformed into the extremely fortunate individual that I had always believed I was until “the sickness.” I still don’t fully understand why God doesn’t just put the secret of the cure into some scientist’s brain, and let us be done with the misery. But at least I’ve had my eyes opened to His purpose, and he’s working on me to make the rest of the connections I need to accept the miracle of life for what it is: A precious gift that comes with caveats and warning labels of many kinds.
I go into the new year with new resolve to fight the good fight, because I’ve been touched by the miracle.
George is an American Bad Ass. He grew up in Jersey, flew B-52s in Vietnam, taught English, Spanish and other languages to children around the world, makes his own salsa, has been known to enjoy a beer or two and has called Lubbock home for a few years, just to entertain the locals. Welcome to Raiderland, Major. We are going to feature some of his writings going forward. Some new, some old. Some rhyme, some don’t. When it comes to George, there’s no box. So… enjoy our friend and enjoy his writings! – Hyatt