Christmas Miracle

When I read the following story I knew I wanted to share it with you. May it bless you as much as it did me.  Merry Christmas.

Children, sickness, Santa, belief

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl.
“Who is this?” asked Santa, smiling. “Your friend? Your sister?”
“Yes, Santa,” he replied. “My sister, Sarah, who is very sick,” he said sadly.
Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
“She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!” the child exclaimed. “She misses you,” he added softly.
Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy’s face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.
When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.
“What is it?” Santa asked warmly.
“Well, I know it’s really too much to ask you, Santa, but ….” the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa’s elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.
“…The girl in the photograph … my granddaughter . well, you see … she has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays,” she said through tear-filled eyes. “Is there any way, Santa . any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That’s all she’s asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.”
Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do.
Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do.
“What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying,” he thought with a sinking heart, “this is the least I can do.”
When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children’s Hospital.
“Why?” Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.
Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah’s grandmother earlier that day.
“C’mon …. I’ll take you there,” Rick said softly.
Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.
Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl’s brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah’s mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah’s thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah’s aunt, sat in a Chair near the bed ! with weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.
Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!”
“Santa!” shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV tubes intact.
Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son — 9 years old — gazed up at him with wonder and excitement.
Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah’s face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.
As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa’s shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering “thank you” as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.
Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she’d been a very good girl that year.
As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl’s mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah’s bed, holding hands.
Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.
“Oh, yes, Santa … I do!” she exclaimed.
“Well, I’m going to ask that angels watch over you,” he said.
Laying one hand on the child’s head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing softly,
“Silent Night, Holy Night …. all is calm, all is bright.”
The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all. When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah’s frail, small hands in his own.
“Now, Sarah,” he said authoritatively, “you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!”
He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he “had” to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could — not dolls or games or toys — but the gift of HOPE.
“Yes, Santa!” Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.
He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.
Out in the hall, the minute Santa’s eyes met Rick’s, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.
Sarah’s mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa’s side to thank him.
“My only child is the same age as Sarah,” he explained quietly. “This is the least I could do.”
They nodded with understanding and hugged him.
One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.
“Hi, Santa! Remember me?!”
“Of course, I do,” Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a “good” Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the “only” child in the world at that moment.
“You came to see me in the hospital last year!”
Santa’s jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.
“Sarah!” he exclaimed.
He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy — much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before.
He looked over and saw Sarah’s mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.
That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed — and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about — this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, “Thank you, Father. ‘Tis a very, Merry Christmas!”

I Can See Clearly Now

#inspiration, #Jesus, Lord, prayerWe spoke to our friend the day before he had cataract surgery. His concern about having his vision tampered with was understandable. What if something went wrong?

Several hours after the procedure we spoke with him again. Although wearing sunglasses to protect his eye while it healed, he was amazed at how much more vivid colours were.

The cataract had slowly obscured the view of his environment. The change had been so gradual it wasn’t noticed. The haziness of his surroundings had become normal.

Once the film on his lens was removed, vibrant hues long forgotten appeared all around him. Instead of looking through a fog, he could see clearly for the first time in years.

The miracle of clear vision was cause for celebration.

As I reflected on this, the memory of situations that had clouded my vision, played across my mind. Emotional struggles, betrayals, disappointments, illness, loss and a myriad of other less than pleasant events had gradually obscured my view of life. The haze surrounding me had become normal. Splashes of colour and promise became a distant memory. My joy slowly faded.

My life changed drastically the day I met Jesus. I had known of him for most of my life but that wasn’t enough. When I asked him to forgive me and take control of my life everything changed. The film of discouragement was replaced with the vision of a bright future. My faith in Jesus healed me.

I praise The Lord I can now clearly see the hope and promise he brings to everyone who calls on him.

“What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. (Luke 18:41-43)

Lighthouses

#God, #Jesus, #inspiration
Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

I was drawn to the lighthouses we saw on our travels. From the shores of the Great Lakes in Ontario to the coastline of the Maritime Provinces, every lighthouse was photo worthy.

There was something about these structures that captured my imagination. Most were operational but I also wanted to stop and admire ones that were purely for decoration.

The distinct tower shape, topped by a lantern area at the top is easily recognized as something to help ships navigate safely through treacherous waters.

#Jesus, #inspiration
Port Dalhousie, Ontario

The symbolism in this runs deep. To many, lighthouses are seen as showing us how to navigate through the rough waters of life. They speak of safety and security in the face of adversity and challenge.

Maybe that is why I was drawn to them. Even the well-weathered structures with peeling paint held an attraction.

#Jesus, #God, #inspiration
Cape Enrage, New Brunswick

They reminded me that, no matter my age, I have the ability to make a positive impact. A lighthouse doesn’t rush around, attempting to save people. It stands still and shines a beacon of light to illuminate the darkness. That is its great power.

Jesus is my personal lighthouse. He keeps me safe and secure no matter what storms challenge my life. I never have to walk in darkness when I can look to Him to guide me. His light fills me and equips me to reflect that to those around me. In that way, I can be a beacon that points people to Him.

#Jesus, #inspiration, light, hope
Port Dover, Ontario

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV)

The Jay

#inspiration, nature, Jay, river
photo by Lynn J. Simpson

Today’s guest blogger is Lynn J Simpson

He sits perched on the floating branch fallen from one of the maple trees that line the river bank. I watch from my own perch, where I’ve come to be in a place where I often come, to slow a mind that has got caught up in its own whirl of thoughts like a river eddy.

But decisions and worries continue to swirl through my mind. Then I gaze at the Jay’s presence, see it’s still wings while it sits upon its perch. And my mind finally stills.

I watch and wait, light sounds of the river’s water and the rustling of tree branches above me, from winds unseen grace my senses.

My eyes follow the Jay as it takes it flight, flies from its perch that has become unsteady in the moving waters. The Jay flies up and up, finally resting in a Manitoba Maple tree’s branch that, I see, points west attached to a trunk that is sturdy and steady.

I rise from my own perch, steadying myself on the uneven turf with the help of reaching a hand against the sturdy tree that resides beside me.

I steady with the knowing that no matter when life seems as unstable as a branch on rushing river waters, I can find even ground again. I just need to take responsibility for my life and fly.

Lynn J Simpson is a writer who is rarely without camera in hand, capturing Breathing Spaces moments to share. She’s published two journals to help people create healthy mind-sets and is a Certified Professional Life Coach. A mom, a grandma, and explorer, Lynn loves to capture life’s journeys through writing and photography. You can find her at InspiringHopeInYou.com

 

The Difference a Day Makes

#inspiration, mountains,My husband and I went to the mountains for a weekend escape. We arrived at night so weren’t able to take in the view until the next morning.

Our room promised a scenic vista and I was eager to check it out in the daylight. Although the mountains loomed close, they were shrouded in clouds so not as picturesque as I had hoped.

The next morning I saw an entirely different view. The mountains were the same but sun shining on the clearly defined peaks made them magnificent.

#inspiration, Bible, #God, difference a day makes
I took pictures at the same time each morning and they tell the story of the difference a day can make.

There are times in my life when the picture in front of me isn’t what I had hoped for. The days are gloomy and the future is anything but clear. It would be so easy to give in to despair.

Instead, I need to keep moving forward. My steps might not be as quick and lively as they once were but I can’t let that stop me.

I take comfort in a well-known Bible verse which says God will be with me as I walk through the dark valley. He doesn’t abandon me there. He is beside me every step of the way and will lead me to the bright sunshine once again. It may not be today or even tomorrow. All I need is the faith that a new day can make all the difference.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV)

After the Turkey

turkey, feast, tradition, family, soupMany years ago my husband started what has now become a family tradition. He made us clubhouse sandwiches on Boxing Day.

This has become so popular that our children have carried it into their own families. No one likes to miss this gathering together for a lunch of clubhouse sandwiches and an afternoon of visiting. The younger ones may not have acquired a taste for the sandwiches yet, but enjoy playing with cousins and snacking on everything else.

As I write this, my house is filled with the mouth-watering aroma of turkey soup simmering on the stove. We will savor this over the next few days while the remainder goes in the freezer to be appreciated at another time.

Why am I telling you this? It’s because I have come to realize that the enjoyment doesn’t end after the main feast is finished. There’s still more to look forward to. I have named but two of the ways we find to help this delicious meal last.

It is the same in life. I have worked towards a goal and once achieved, wondered if anything else could match this accomplishment. It was so rewarding that it seemed unrealistic to expect more.

As I look back over this past year I am humbled to see what God has accomplished in and through me. After one feast of blessings he has nurtured and sustained me as he prepared me for the next. I am confident that there will be more for me to relish. For now, I wait patiently and expectantly as I put my hope in God. I’m excited to see what he has in store for me next!

Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14 NLT)

Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. (Psalm 25:4-5 NLT)

Sunbeams

sunbeam by Al GriffinClouds had been gathering and now obscured the sun. The few remaining patches of blue sky were slowly disappearing. Then I saw it. Through one patch of clouds, the sun was beaming down in clearly defined shafts of light. It was these sunbeams, bursting through the clouds that captured my attention.

Without the clouds to block it, the sun’s light is often taken for granted. Looking at the sunbeams, forcing their way through the clouds I was reminded that, although I may not always see it, the sun is still there. It may be temporarily blocked by circumstances in my life. Above the clouds the sun is still shining. If I consciously search for it, I may be rewarded with shafts of light that are like rays of hope shining through the dark sky.

One thing I have learned is that I tend to find whatever it is I focus on. Life is gloomy when I only focus on the clouds that block the light and warmth of the sun. By shifting my focus to the glimmers of light, soon I don’t notice the clouds, only the positive effects of sun reaching out to embrace me. God’s son, Jesus, is always willing to pour out His light upon me. All that I have to do is consciously seek Him. When filled with His light and love I can, in turn, reflect this to others, so they may also feel the warmth of His love.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father. Matthew 5:16 NKJV

Hope

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWe had been driving through the mountains and were nearing a town called Hope. When I looked at the distance before we reached Hope, I wondered why my hope is often a distance away instead being where I am now. As we made our descent we saw a “chain off” area where vehicles can pull over and remove the chains that are needed to get them safely through the steep mountain roads in winter conditions.

The significance of this combination of chains off before I reach Hope was not lost on me. When I am in situations in which I do not feel safe, I have been known to wrap chains around my heart for protection. At these times, hope seems so far away. It doesn’t appear to get any closer as I journey along.

When I lay my concerns at the feet of Jesus, he releases the chains that have held me in bondage. I am free and realize that hope is now within me. I have found the true hope that will never leave me and that is the one found in Jesus.

We were saved with this hope in mind. If we hope for something we already see, it’s not really hope. Who hopes for what can be seen? But if we hope for what we don’t see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Romans 8:24,25 God’s Word Translation

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 NIV