A Story of Christmas Magic

Photo Credit: Lady Dragon Fly via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Lady Dragon Fly via CC Flickr

One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season, is finding interesting and heartwarming stories that touch your soul and put a smile on your face. Well. today, I was reading some stories on the web page “The Gathering Place” and came across this story. Even though the author is unknown, I felt that it was a sweet little tale to share with you!

————————

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 ad 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!”

Saying Goodbye to Mom and the Christmas Miracle

Photo Credit: jandmranch.com

Photo Credit: jandmranch.com

It was a week before Christmas and my dearly beloved mother was in a coma. She was dying of cancer and had been unconscious since early that afternoon. It was the third night in a row that my wife and I had made our two hour trip to come to my mother’s house to say  ”goodbye” to her.

The hospice doctor had told me three days earlier that he believed that mom would pass away at any time and that we should visit her to be with her when she passed. So, for those three nights, we would make our trip to be with her and wait for the dreaded moment to come.

Leaving her house each night was very heart wrenching because I was never sure if it would be the last time that I would see her alive. I had always made it a point to tell her that I loved her each time I left her, so that I could always say, that that would be the last thing I told her on this earth if she passed away.

Like I said earlier, it was the third and last night we were with her and she was just in a deep, deep sleep. It was such a strange and surreal feeling, standing their watching my mom take in very slow breathes with her oxygen mask on her face. All of her hair was gone and she was just a shell of the beautiful and delightful woman that was my mother.

As the night wore on and the time got later and later, I grew more and more saddened by the fact that we would have to leave to return home. Finally, around midnight, we decided that it was time to go home. We had to be home for our two little boys in the morning.

I remember thinking that I wanted to SAY goodbye to my mom just one more time but I knew that I could but she would never hear it. So, with a heavy heart, I leaned over my mom, placed a gentle kiss on her forehead and said, “I love you mom.” Then I whispered to her, in almost a prayer-type request, “come on mom…wake up one more time. Please? Just once more?” But my request fell upon deaf ears and she never woke up. My wife then sat on the side of her bed, held hand ever so gently and began to say her goodbyes.

Suddenly, my mother opened her eyes, took off her air mask and said, with a voice as clear as could be, “what is everyone doing here? I am fine! I have just been sleeping. I am going to be fine.” It was simply fascinating experience. Here was my mother who had talked, just the day before, with a weak, raspy voice that was caused by constantly having the mask on and inhaling the oxygen 24 hours a day, and now she was totally awake and not only sounded like she was totally healthy but acted like it as well.

I stood there mesmerized and the sudden turn of events but I was also so very thankful…I could now SAY goodbye to my mother and share my feelings and last thoughts with her! After telling her the things that I wanted to tell her, giving her one last kiss goodbye and telling her how much I loved her and for being such a terrific mom, we got ready to leave. I felt truly blessed and thankful that my “whispered prayer” was answered. My heart was filled with joy knowing that God had given us a Christmas miracle…my mom.

Soon after we left, she went back to sleep and never woke up again. Later the next day, surrounded by friends along with her childhood best friend, she quietly passed on from this world and touched the face of God.

The 1914 Christmas Truce of World War One

Photo Credit: libraryofcongress

Photo Credit: libraryofcongress

The magic of Christmas sometimes has a wonderful and delightful effect on a variety of people. Sometimes we forget how important it is to treat our fellow human beings in a caring and giving way this time of year because of all the “hustle and bustle” of the season. Sometimes, that special time of year can soften the hearts of even the harden soldiers. This Christmas miracle happened during the first year of World War One…and it truly was a miracle.

——————

During World War I, in the winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in all of human history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy, man-made trenches six to eight feet deep that seemed to stretch forever.

All of a sudden, German troops began to put small Christmas trees, lit with candles, outside of their trenches. Then, they began to sing songs. Across the way, in the “no man’s land” between them, came songs from the British and French troops. Incredibly, many of the Germans, who had worked in England before the war, were able to speak good enough English to propose a “Christmas” truce.

The British and French troops, all along the miles of trenches, accepted. In a few places, allied troops fired at the Germans as they climbed out of their trenches. But the Germans were persistent and Christmas would be celebrated even under the threat of impending death.

According to Stanley Weintraub, who wrote about this event in his book, Silent Night, “signboards arose up and down the trenches in a variety of shapes. They were usually in English, or – from the Germans – in fractured English. Rightly, the Germans assumed that the other side could not read traditional gothic lettering, and that few English understood spoken German. ‘YOU NO FIGHT, WE NO FIGHT’ was the most frequently employed German message. Some British units improvised ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ banners and waited for a response. More placards on both sides popped up.”

A spontaneous truce resulted. Soldiers left their trenches, meeting in the middle to shake hands. The first order of business was to bury the dead who had been previously unreachable because of the conflict. Then, they exchanged gifts. Chocolate cake, cognac, postcards, newspapers, tobacco. In a few places, along the trenches, soldiers exchanged rifles for soccer balls and began to play games.

It didn’t last forever. In fact, some of the generals didn’t like it at all and commanded their troops to resume shooting at each other. After all, they were in a war. Soldiers eventually did resume shooting at each other. But only after, in a number of cases, a few days of wasting rounds of ammunition shooting at stars in the sky instead of soldiers in the opposing army across the field.

———————-

What a great thing to remember! Imagine how much better the world would be if we put away our hate and bitterness towards others and focused on helping and serving them. 

Source: successvibe.com