Across these great, fruited plains of America (including the almost frozen tundra of our Mitten State) folks are thinking about miracles — it is that time of year. Folks either believe in one miraculous birth or they don’t; they either believe in miracles or are hoping for one to intervene in their lives.
What is a miracle? One definition I liked for this column is, “a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.”
Good, miracle-type stuff has happenned during the Christmas season. A novelty song from my youth about Snoopy and the flying ace Red Baron and Christmas and World War 1 has stuck with me all these long years.
Here are some of the lyrics:
The news had come out in the First World War, the bloody Red Baron was flying once more
The Allied command ignored all of its men, And called on Snoopy to do it again.
Was the night before Christmas, 40 below, When Snoopy went up in search of his foe
He spied the Red Baron, fiercely they fought, With ice on his wings Snoopy knew he was caught.
The Baron had Snoopy dead in his sights, He reached for the trigger to pull it up tight. Why he didn’t shoot, well, we’ll never know
Or was it the bells from the village below?
This song, cute and all that, intrigued my young mind — how can enemies be nice to one another?
* * *
Fast forward in my aging process, and somewhere along the line I read something about British and German enemies singing to each other during that first World War. I googled “allied and German troops sing on Christmas eve” and in less than one second I had over 2.5 million responses. Ever judicious in my selection of “news” sources, I reckoned I could trust an article from Time magazine. So, I clicked on the link and was taken to a story by Naina Bajekal, dated Dec. 24, 2014.
Wrote she in the lead, “On a crisp, clear morning 100 years ago, thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front. In the hundred years since, the event has been seen as a kind of miracle, a rare moment of peace just a few months into a war that would eventually claim over 15 million lives . . .To this day, historians continue to disagree over the specifics: no one knows where it began or how it spread, or if, by some curious festive magic, it broke out simultaneously across the trenches. Nevertheless, some two-thirds of troops — about 100,000 people — are believed to have participated in the legendary truce. . . .”
* * *
So, there you go. Christmas seasons can produce some mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, totally cool events to happen. Is that the type of miracles folks these days are looking for? I don’t know. I suppose it would be nice if, by some divine intervention, The hand of God would come down and caress each and every one of us into a peaceful and loving way (even those who do not believe in any god, let alone one that has a “hand” to “touch” us).
I do believe if you want a miracle or are in need of one, you need look no further than to the person next to you, even if it is the person in the mirror looking back at you. Each and every one of us is a miracle — there is a spark of light attached to us the moment we become. Now, I am no scientist but I know enough to say it is a miracle than any of us are born.
From the moment mom’s egg is fertilized a gazillion things on the cellular level have to happen in just the correct way and order for baby to come screaming into the world. Each of us is a miracle of life.
We are each miracles, too, because we have the ability to love. Loving — parent to child, child to parent, sibling to sibling, romantically, or to just “love thy neighbor”, I believe is sharing of our own individual miracle.
For most, this time of year is wondrous, for others it is a sad time, a time wounds from the loss of love, of a spouse, parent, friend, or dear God, a child are ripped open and pain-filled. Sometimes I think this: Those who we have loved and lost shared their miracle with us; our lives are richer and better because, on their own, they chose to love us for no other reason than we existed in their lives. The miracle they give us is that they thought we were worthy of happiness, life and love.
* * *