A Story of Christmas Magic

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Photo Credit: Dragon Lady via 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! Please be prepared…a box if tissues may be required.

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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!”

One Dollar and Eleven Cents

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Every once in a while, I come across a story that renews my faith in miracles. The following true story is an example of how miracles just “don’t happen” but come from a higher being.

Tess was a precocious eight-year-old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor bills and their house.

Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation,

“Only a miracle can save him now.”

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully.

Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the Big Red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise.

Nothing.

She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster.

No good.

Finally, she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter.

That did it!

“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice.

“I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone.

“He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you, “the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well-dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents—the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well-dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Tess’s Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery, “her Mom whispered.” was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents …… plus the faith of a little child.

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law!

One Dollar and Eleven Cents

Photo Credit: Steve Depolo via Flickr
Photo Credit: Steve Depolo via Flickr

Every once in a while, I come across a story that renews my faith in miracles. The following true story is an example of how miracles just “don’t happen” but come from a higher being.

Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor bills and their house.

Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation,

“Only a miracle can save him now.”

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully.

Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the Big Red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise.

Nothing.

She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster.

No good.

Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter.

That did it!

“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice.

“I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone.

“He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle

cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you, “the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well-dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents—the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Tess’s Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery, “her Mom whispered.” was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents …… plus the faith of a little child.

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law!

Miracles Can Still Happen Folks!

This video is truly a heartwarming video of a little boy with Cerebral Palsy. His doctors said that he would never be able to walk but he proved them wrong! Watch how this brave little kid walked for the first time in his life when his father returned from his tour of duty.

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.

A Promise at the Ballpark

Photo Credit: Kakisky via morguefile
Photo Credit: Kakisky via morguefile

A child’s faith is tested, but she learns she can talk to God about anything—even baseball.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I would have given anything to take them back.

I looked at that youngster beside me in the car, pixie face eager beneath her baseball cap. Knowing just how much 10-year-old Erin missed her dad, wanting to do something special for her, I’d invited her to go with me that afternoon to watch the Giants play the Chicago Cubs at Candlestick Park.

I’d never seen a kid so excited. We’d been driving across the Bay Bridge when she suddenly piped up, “Maybe we’ll catch a foul ball!”

And like an idiot I’d said, “Well, honey, now that your dad’s in heaven, maybe he’ll mention that to God for you.”

Just a throw-away remark, but I saw that she took it seriously and I wanted to bite my tongue off. A child’s faith is tested enough when a parent dies without some dolt planting pipe dreams.

“You mean,” Erin asked in an awestruck voice, “you can talk to God even about baseball?”

I switched subjects fast, talked about some of the great times our two families had had together. We were like one family, really, next-door neighbors for 11 years, each couple with three kids the same ages, Craig and I close as brothers in spite of being so different.

It was our differences, in fact, that made the relationship so great. Craig could repair anything—electrical circuits, clogged plumbing. When my kids had a bike wheel come off, they wouldn’t waste time with me, they’d go straight to him.

As for me, sports were my thing, especially baseball. I’d gone to college on a baseball scholarship, been drafted by the California Angels to a minor-league contract right out of school. After four years I was aspiring to a spot in the major leagues when I damaged my rotator cuff. That ended my professional career, but not my love of the game.

We made a deal, Craig and I: Things that needed fixing, he’d do, coaching the kids was my job.

All six of them were great little athletes, but Erin was something else. Lots of speed, a pitcher’s concentration and a throwing arm every guy in her Little League division envied (she played on a boys’ team). It made a special bond between the two of us, all the more important in the six months since her dad’s death from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

I’d never forget his final words to me in the hospital room a few hours before the end. “Keep a watch over my kids, Steve.” As if he had to ask!

As we pulled into the parking lot at Candlestick, Erin chattered away, my thoughtless remark hopefully forgotten. Soon we were settled into our seats halfway between home plate and third base, Cracker Jack boxes in hand. The pitcher warmed up, and we prepared for our private contest.

When I first started taking kids to ball games I’d invented a way to pass the slow moments between pitches. Each of us would call out a guess as to what would happen. “High pop-up to right field!” Or, “Line drive to center!”

Ninety-nine percent of the guesses were wrong, of course, but when someone did predict correctly, he or she got a point toward an extra hot dog or a souvenir program. Erin was calling, “Swing and a miss on a curve ball!” unfazed by a score of zero.

It was a wonderful afternoon, a close game with some spectacular plays. Like the baseball fanatics we were, we’d both brought our mitts, though Erin—to my vast relief—hadn’t spoken again about a foul ball coming our way, the notion apparently forgotten as quickly as it came.

It was in the bottom of the ninth, game nearly over with two outs and the batter up, that she stood up suddenly and sang out, “High foul ball right to us!”

I laughed at the certainty with which she could still make these pronouncements. There was a crack as the batter connected with the ball, sending it high over the third-base line. A second later the laughter died in my throat as I watched the trajectory of that ball, saw it spin, curve to the left, and begin a slow downward arc right toward us.

All around us people were on their feet, arms raised, grabbing for it. I’m a tall guy, six-foot-five. I leaned forward and stretched my hand up. The ball slapped into the fingertips of my mitt.

Erin was jumping, laughing, crying, brushing away tears with her own mitt. I started crying too, the two of us shouting, hugging each other, staring at that miraculous ball.

Erin looked at the ball, that is. I was seeing something more wondrous still. I was watching a child’s first encounter with the God we can talk to even about baseball.

By Steve Kelley, Walnut Creek, California

As appeared in “Angels on Earth”