The picture that you are looking at is of the two angels on my front lawn. They didn't look that way at the beginning of this Christmas season, though. In fact, they were in sad shape, and I truly believe it was a Christmas miracle that brought them back. Here is how it happened...
When we first moved into our house about 10 years ago, we bought two angels for the front lawn during an after Christmas sale. They lasted us about eight good years. I was able to replace them with a really good Michael's coupon the year they went out. Normally, we put out the angels along with other white lights on the front and back banisters.
But this year, my heart was feeling heavy when it was time to put them all up. I have been very saddened by the situation in Standing Rock, North Dakota. If you don't know much about the situation, you can read more here. Anyway, I wanted to try to save electricity because our power comes from about 50% gas and about 20% oil. I decided that instead of putting all the lights up, I would just put up the angels this year. But unfortunately, when I put them up, the one on the left was only 1/2 lit. The top half - where the wings are - did not light up. Additionally, we were late to put them up so the ground had already frozen making the second one to keep toppling over. This is because the stakes couldn't go all the way in the frozen ground.
It was a sad sight to see. Two angles - one 1/2 lit and the other lying on the ground. It felt like a sign to me, but I wasn't sure what the sign was. My feeling was that it had something to do with me not feeling the Christmas spirit at all.
So time was passing and I was still not feeling it. The very turbulent environment surrounding the presidential election was not helping me get it back, either. There I was, wanting to make the world better by saving electricity, but it didn't seem to be making me feel any better at all. In fact, I just felt sad. And the angles looked sad after a couple weeks of trying to prop them up and failing and trying to fix the connection to the burned out bulbs but failing that too. So, not only did I feel kinda sad, but it looked wicked sad, too.
So, I did what I do best. I prayed. Because, honestly, I realize that I just don't have all the answers and that that there is a force greater than me at work. Prayer has gotten me through many, many challenging times. I asked God the question that never fails, "How can I serve best?" And, I went to sleep not knowing the answer.
But, I woke up knowing what I needed to do. I sent an email to my co-workers and I asked them to chip-in to get my boss a special gift. Then, I went to St. Francis Nursing Home in Worcester, MA. I used to visit St. Francis as a hospice employee, and I missed singing to the residents there. Every Christmas, they have a giving tree with gift requests for the men and women who live at the home. Many of the residents there don't have much money or close relatives to visit them, so the gift requests are mostly things like pajamas and sweatpants. In years past, it always made me sad that all of the tags would not get taken off the tree for people to buy the gifts. I enjoyed taking two tags when I was visiting there and bringing gifts knowing they were much needed. So, on my way to work that morning, I stopped off at the nursing home.
And there was the tree.
And it was filled with tags that hadn't been taken.
And Christmas was only 9 days away.
I asked the staff when the gifts needed to be turned in by, but it turned out that they were due that day! I asked if they would let me bring them by on Sunday, which happened to be my birthday. They said that would be enough time for them to get the gifts to the residents, so I took two tags - one for a female resident and one for a male. I imagined the people who they might be going to and my heart filled up.
And then I headed back out into my day.
That night, it snowed.
And the angel that kept falling over was suddenly held up by the snow. We finally had two standing angels. My son and I walked down the street in the snowstorm to the barber's. We stopped off and got the barber a coffee on the way.
When the sun set that night, I looked out on the lawn and saw... my two angels were completely lit! And standing! It was a Christmas miracle!! I said to my husband and kids, "Quick, come, look! It's a Christmas miracle!!!" "Did you guys fix it somehow????" Nope. They didn't do anything. They thought I must have fixed it. But I didn't fix it. I didn't do anything. I was dumbfounded. I honestly didn't know what made the angel light up, but I truly (and maybe a little jokingly) thought it was a Christmas miracle.
So, Sunday rolled around and it was my birthday. The nice thing about having an awesome husband is that you basically do whatever you want on your birthday, and he will go along with it. He's that awesome. So, in addition to teaching my Renew Body Sequence (TM) yoga class, and going to Boston with the family to see the lights in Faneuil Hall, I requested to buy presents for the giving tree and to deliver them.
Two of my boys came with me to deliver the gifts to the nursing home. We stopped in to visit a couple of the residents there that I remembered and sing them a Christmas song. It felt good to teach my kids the true meaning of Christmas. And it dawned on me that I had brought the Christmas Spirit back into my heart and that it directly coincided with the day the angels lit back up. It really was a Christmas miracle. I have no other explanation of why or how it snowed that day and the lights just came back on. I had tried multiple times before to wiggle and jiggle the lights to no avail, and I had truly given up on them. But I didn't give up on my faith. And I didn't give up on prayer. And I didn't give up on offering myself up as a servant to a power that is much bigger than me.
So, how about you? Have you ever experienced a Christmas miracle? Will you share it in the comments below?
I would love to hear your stories. In the meantime, here's wishing you a heart filled with the Christmas Spirit today and every day.