The holiday season is a time to be with family and friends. It’s a time for feasting, laughing, and celebrating. And it’s a time for believing.
Sure, it’s a time for believing in magic. But the season is about believing in so much more. It’s about believing in miracles.
For Christians, Christmas is the day to celebrate a miracle -- the miracle of the birth of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary.
This is also a season of celebrating miracles for those who are Jewish. The eight-day Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, which began on Sunday evening, celebrates the victory over a tyrant king and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. Where does the miracle lie in this story? A small jar of oil used to light the Temple’s menorah miraculously lasted for eight days.
It is our faith that encourages us to believe in these miracles. But do we all truly believe these stories? After all, they occurred so long ago. Could these stories simply have been just that - stories? Something that has been passed down from one generation to the next?
In this world of requiring evidence in order to prove that anything is truly real, it is not always easy to believe in what one does not see. But I believe. And you should believe, too.
Because I know that miracles do exist.
Why do I know this? Because my life is a miracle. Or so I have been told...
It was the middle of the night when a young mother sat straight up in her bed. Something caused her to awake with an uneasy feeling.
Why she awoke, she could not be certain. Maybe it was a mother’s intuition. Maybe something else.
But as she glanced down the hallway, she found herself blinking several times, and then she rubbed her eyes. Something was standing outside of her 3-month-old daughter’s bedroom. It was white, it looked like a cloud, and it was glowing. The glowing light seemed to be facing her daughter’s room.
The apparition frightened the woman. She wondered what it was and from where it came. Worried, the mother knew that she must check on her child. But when she looked into the baby’s crib, she was still asleep and seemed fine.
And so the mother tried her best to fall back to sleep, telling herself that she had just been dreaming.
After a sleepless night, the sun’s first light entered the mother’s window, and the young mother, once again, rushed to her baby’s crib. She could not let go of the vision she had seen in the middle of the night.
Whatever it was must have been there for a reason. But why had it been there?
While everything appeared to be fine with the baby, the mother still felt uneasy.
So she called her babysitter and told her not to come to the house that morning. She felt that the light, whatever it was, had been telling her to stay home with her baby that day.
Thankfully, the mother had listened because suddenly, the baby started to make an odd, moaning sound, and the baby felt warm. The mother called the child’s pediatrician immediately and described the baby’s symptoms.
“Meet me at the hospital,” the doctor said.
And so the mother did. Once she arrived at the hospital, the baby’s fever had spiked, and the little girl was quickly admitted to the ICU.
By the time the baby’s father arrived at the hospital, the doctor ordered a spinal tap on the baby. The results revealed that the little girl had spinal meningitis.
“I am afraid that things do not look good for your baby,” the doctor said.
The devastated parents spent two days and two nights in the ICU with their baby. The mother and father prayed over their baby girl as she wrapped every one of her tiny fingers around her mother’s pinky finger.
Then the pediatrician had an idea.
“I’m going to try something that has never been done before,” the doctor told the parents. “I’m going to inject an antibiotic directly into your baby’s spinal column. We have nothing to lose.”
And as the antibiotic slowly attacked the meningitis, a miracle began to occur. While the doctors still feared that the baby would lose her eyesight and hearing as a result of spinal meningitis, the baby showed signs of improvement.
And then the miracle continued, when two weeks later, a perfectly healthy baby was released from the ICU. She still had her eyesight, and she still had her hearing.
The baby was a “miracle baby,” the doctors said.
I was a miracle.
To this day, my mother believes that the white cloud that she witnessed outside of my bedroom was my guardian angel. And if it had not been for my angel watching over me, I may not have survived.
But I am not the only “miracle baby.” There have been so many other stories, including the one of baby Siena.
Siena’s parents anxiously awaited her birth. “When she entered the world, there was a lot of love,” remembers Siena’s mother, Francesca Finck. “But there was also a lot of fear because Siena went into cardiopulmonary arrest and was quickly transferred to St. Mary’s NICU.”
Finck believes that she had an angel nurse who interceded at the perfect time. “We have her to attribute most of our story,” says Finck. “The rest of the staff at the hospital played a pivotal role, too.”
As the news spread about Siena’s critical condition, people - locally and from afar - began to pray for the newborn baby.
And when Finck passed out during the trauma, something miraculous occurred. Finck saw Jesus. “He told me not to worry and that Siena would be all right.”
After repeated tests with multiple neurologists, cardiologists, and their pediatrician, a perfectly healthy baby girl went home from the hospital with her parents.
“She is all smiles,” says Siena’s father, William Finck. “The mornings are the absolute best because she wakes up and sees your face and is so bright and shining. I can’t thank God enough, every single day for her.”
Siena is evidence of a miracle. I am evidence of a miracle. If seeing is believing, then you can look at me and baby Siena. And if you need a miracle in your life right now - it’s time to start believing. After all, miracles began long ago, and they continue to occur each and every day.
May you always believe.