Your Best Christmas Surprises: Part 6 – Out of Tragedy, a Miracle for a Lifetime

How Christmas Memories Are Made

We love a great Christmas surprise. But no surprise here: INSP viewers have a lot of heart! From joyful memories to Christmas miracles, thanks for sharing a part of your lives.

Your Christmas Stories…

My best Christmas gift began in the early hours of Christmas morning, 1978,  when my family and I were driving home from midnight Mass. Christmas carols filled the car and warmed our hearts that chilly, snow-filled morning.  That memory will always remain sweet in my mind, as shortly after, a nightmare began.  As we arrived home, we realized our house was filled with flames and my sister’s husband and three children were still inside.  The rest of the night was a blur to me as I stood helpless watching the events unfold, but I do remember many friends  and strangers coming together to rescue the children, provide CPR, and assist my family in far too many ways to mention.  To this day, we don’t know who many of those strangers were, but to our family, they were angels of God.

Later Christmas day, my parents brought our whole family together to gather in a circle and pray.  They began to THANK GOD for everything we had in life.  As a 15 year old girl, I was so confused.  Thank God?  For burning our house down on Christmas Eve? Shouldn’t we be asking God for the things we need?  But I listened to my parents as they gave God all the praise and glory He deserves.  That day changed my life as my mom and dad gave me the most beautiful Christmas gift any parent can give their child.  The gift of faith and humility.

My grandpa Gehl had built a manger with old barn wood from his childhood farm.  That manger was under the Christmas tree in the heart of the fire.  Steel beams above it melted and black char and ashes surrounded it.  However, the manger, and it’s figurines were untouched. Even the dried hay my grandpa put in the manger from the old barn was not touched by the hot flames.  However, baby Jesus was missing from the manger. My mother said he was upstairs guarding the children.  We did find him, about 20 feet away from the manger, at the foot of the stairs.

Annie Camera 086sert

Since that day, I viewed God and my faith differently.  I no longer saw God as “Santa Claus” who would bring me what I asked for if I was a good girl. I opened my eyes to all of the gifts He gives to me on a daily basis and learned to praise His name.  I understand the importance of trusting God and praying “Thy will be done.”  My parents gift of faith has continued to grow over the next 36 years of my life’s journey and I am constantly reminded of the night of the Christmas miracle.  God is good!

– A. Hovie