And She Shall Bring Forth a Son…Our Savior’s Birth

Our Savior’s birth, have you ever given some time to really think about it? Have you ever thought about what it means to you personally? Have you ever thought about the whys and the what ifs?

I believe that our Savior’s birth is the most critical event that has ever occurred. Without it, his sacrifice could not have been made. Without it, we would have been lost.

I am grateful for the perfect way that his birth communicates so many priceless lessons. Over and over, I have been taught lessons by that precious timeless story that has been preserved by our Lord’s apostles. I have learned that life should be simple. I have learned that God is aware of us all. I have learned that the circumstances of our birth does not indicate our worth. I have learned those things and so much more. Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned is that God is a God who presents us with miracles in the most meaningful and intimate of ways. I hope you have been blessed with many such miracles.

The Christmas miracle I share today perfectly demonstrates the intimacy with which God succors his children with miracles!:

Late afternoon that Christmas Eve, I paced from room to room opening and closing closet doors, searching everywhere like a mama dog that had recently lost her pups to adoption.

I don’t know what I was looking for because the only thing I wanted had just driven away with their dad. My sons, Michael and Patrick were spending their first Christmas at his new house. I was spending mine alone.

I wandered into the kitchen to start the tea kettle and noticed our cat in a tangled mess on the hardwood floor. Mittens had knocked down one of the Christmas cards taped to the kitchen door.

She was in a frenzy trying to shake off a small card stuck to her forepaw and the more she jerked and twisted her paw, the more tangled up she became. I sat on the floor murmuring sweet nothings until she stopped flailing and I could help peel away the tape.

The card was from my new pastor, Ruth. I had received it that morning mixed in with Christmas greetings from the gas and electric companies who wished me a joyous season even though I owed them money.

Ruth’s card stood out because it was so simple. The size of a small note card, it was all white except for a tiny detailed etching of a baby in a manger. Below the etching the word love was written in script so fine it looked like a whisper.=

The card was blank inside except for Ruth’s handwritten message.

Merry Christmas, Margaret.
My gift to you is Luke 1:37.
Love, Ruth.

I had no idea what Luke 1:37 was and smiled at her attempt to get me to read the Bible. She had snuck a Bible into my mailbox that summer and wedged it sideways on top of my bills and free offers for a cleaner furnace and a firmer me.

Her yellow sticky note on the cover said, “Read me 15 minutes a day.” It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland’s note, Drink Me, and I wondered what would happen if I read it.

Of course, I didn’t read it. How was I supposed to read the Bible three months after my fifteen year marriage ended? I couldn’t focus enough to read how to microwave a frozen pizza.

I opened Ruth’s card again. My gift to you is Luke 1:37. I couldn’t ask her what it meant because she was working on a mission in Paraguay for the holidays. I closed her card and taped it back on the kitchen door where I had been displaying cards every Christmas for the last 15 years.

This year, all the cards just ticked me off. Cheery Santas and family photos with Labrador retrievers looked fake as a cheap toupee. I stared at all of them trying to find some joy, something that might help me feel less alone and when they began to blur into one giant Christmas card, I realized that for the first time I my life, I didn’t know what to do.

I had been the fixer all my life and I couldn’t fix my marriage.

I knew I’d fall apart if I didn’t get out of my empty house so I rushed to dress for a walk hoping the frigid Minnesota temperatures would numb my pain.

Within 20 minutes, I realized I had underestimated the biting cold which was probably why I hadn’t seen another sole out walking. My fingertips felt like I had dipped them in scalding water. Before frostbite set in I knew I needed to find a place to get warm.

I was grateful to see a few boutiques open for Christmas Eve shoppers and slipped into a renovated bungalow called The Hunt Queens.

An overhead bell chimed as I walked into a Wonderland. Tiny white fairy lights twinkled everywhere like a Christmas forest filled with fireflies. Tables were set with bountiful displays of all the trimmings: heart shaped shortbread cookies piled high on vintage cut glass platters, sterling bowls heaped with pomegranates, gold tipped pine cones nestled in pine boughs.

A stunning blonde woman dressed in a winter white wool pantsuit was humming “O Come All Ye Faithful” along with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Her rich scarlet lipstick was a stark contrast to her white suit. “Merry Christmas!” she exclaimed. “Were you out walking in this?” Her hand flew to her face and I noticed her manicured nails painted the same scarlet red.

I looked like a refugee from Siberia. In my hurry to get out of the house, I had grabbed my son’s woolen ski cap and pulled it down past my eyebrows and wrapped a ratty old scarf around my face to protect my nose.

“I heard it’s almost -32 with the wind chill,” she continued as I peeled away the scarf. I hated looking so crappy at Christmas. I wanted to look as lovely as she did. I wanted to be wearing makeup, a designer suit and killer heels.

“Oh, I just felt like going for a walk with all the activity at my house. My kids have a few friends over playing Nintendo and I needed some quiet.”

A big fat lie.

The same as the ones I told everyone about how happy our marriage was.

She offered me some hot cider which I gratefully took to warm my fingers. I noticed her merchandise, a combination of old and new and felt like I could have been in my own living room. Vintage floral oil paintings, antique crystal chandeliers and mirrors in gilt frames looked similar to my own.

“Have you been in the store before?” she asked.

“No, but, I’ve been hearing about it. I collect antiques and love things that tell a story.” I walked towards a blue painted cabinet filled with lush linens, all shades of white.

“Are you looking for anything in particular?”

I suppressed an urge to ask if she had any husbands for sale in the back room who meant “forever” when they said it.

“Hey, if you like things with a story, you might like this painting I just put out this very morning.”

She turned around to remove it from the wall and held it in both hands to appraise it. “It’s an old watercolor. Reminds me of one of those Home Sweet Home paintings.” She stretched out her arms to examine it at a distance. “Although, I’ve never seen this expression before.”

I sipped my cider and approached her to look at it but she stepped in front of me to grab a dust cloth. She laid the painting on the counter face up. “Apparently, it’s a piece of scripture. I called my business partner this morning and asked her to look it up in her Bible.”

She wiped the glass. “I wasn’t familiar with it, but maybe you are. My partner said it’s from Luke 1:37.”

I put my cup down and held my breath.

I pictured my cat, my card from Ruth.

“Did you say, Luke 1:37?” I sounded like I had laryngitis. I unzipped my jacket and fanned my face with my scarf.

“Yeah, that’s what the painting is.” She turned it to face me. “See?”

I reached out and touched the glass. It was an old watercolor with a soft creamy background stained in a few spots where someone might have spilled tea. About thirty inches wide and ten inches tall, the painting was surrounded by a half-inch wooden frame painted white, chipped and worn on the edges.

The main body of the painting was a tranquil blue sea and if you looked closely to where the sea met the horizon, the artist painted three vertical black lines, a half inch tall, masts of sailboats miles from shore, deadlocked in a windless sea.

Deadlocked. Like me.

And, there it was. Ruth’s Christmas gift. Luke 1:37.

In four inch Gothic letters, the artist had painted:

With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible

I stared at the painting, unbelieving, but believing at the same time. I remembered when a magician pulled the entire Queen of clubs marked with my signature out of his wallet after I had signed it and ripped it into tiny pieces.

I took it out of her hands. I needed to feel its weight to make sure it was real. I barely heard her as she continued. “I almost kept it myself because I like the message, something good to remember, don’t you think?”

I bought it and carried it home.

After searching for an hour, I found the Bible from Ruth at the bottom of my laundry basket. I looked up Luke 1:37 just to be sure. But as I flipped the pages, I knew it would be there exactly like the painting and when I found it, I caressed the words and read them over and over.

With God nothing shall be impossible.

Shared from the following website:

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And Behold, He Shall Be Born of Mary…

And Behold, he shall be born of Mary

And Behold, He Shall Be Born of Mary… the whole story of Mary and the birth of our Savior is a miracle! I am so grateful for miracles and for the spirit of giving that prevails during this time of year! I am thankful for the many good hearts that live in this world and for their efforts to make this world a better place!

May the true spirit of Christmas reside in your heart today and all days!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Christmas Miracle

This is a real Christmas miracle story, happened in December 1997 in Wisconsin, USA.

A little girl named Sarah had leukemia and was not expected to live to see Christmas. Her brother and grandmother went to the mall to ask Mark Lenonard who was a professional Santa Claus to visit the hospital to give Sarah the gift of hope through encouragement and prayer.

A year later Sarah surprised Santa by showing up at the mall where he worked. Here goes the story.

A little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at The Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on santa’s 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 anyway, 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 Rick, 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.

“Common….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 a 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.

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!”

By Susan Morton Leonard, Santa’s wife
Santa’s name: Mark Leonard or Santa Mark

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