The Christmas Miracle
It was Christmas Day and we were sitting around the dining room table in my sister’s farm home discussing Aunt Annie. Our dear widowed aunt was lying in a coma at our local hospital because of an auto accident on Thanksgiving Day. She’d been to the morning services at her country church and was nearly back to her cozy house in a small town when it happened. Aunt Annie stopped at the stop sign before crossing the highway then pulled out into the path of an oncoming car. No one could explain why. Perhaps she didn’t see it; maybe she was preoccupied.
At first, after the collision, she didn’t seem badly injured, mostly upset. Then she stopped talking, violent spasms coursed through her body, it became rigid and she was silent. Emergency help was called and soon Aunt Annie was in the back of an ambulance speeding to the hospital.
After examining her, the doctor conferred with her family. “Your mother has suffered a massive stroke and at this time I can’t say what her prognosis is. If she should regain consciousness soon, I’d say she has a fighting chance. Otherwise, the chances for her survival are slim.”
Since my aunt’s immediate family consisted only of her daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons, other relatives took turns sitting with her twenty-four hours a day, in case there was a change in her condition. When two weeks passed without improvement, it was decided Aunt Annie needed to be taken to Lincoln for examination by specialists.
Those learned gentlemen did a thorough examination, administered various tests and came to the conclusion that nothing could be done to save Aunt Annie’s life. The kindest thing would be to take her back to the home town hospital and make her as comfortable as possible.
She’d been back almost a week by Christmas with relatives constantly at her bedside. Those of us having Christmas dinner out at my sister’s farm felt surely there was something more we could do, should do for Aunt Annie. Finally my niece said, “I think we should go to the hospital and sing Christmas carols. Even though she is unconscious, in some way it could give her a good feeling and we’d enjoy doing it.”
My sisters and I, several nieces and their husbands piled into cars and drove through the sparkling white countryside into town. Nurses on duty at the hospital were startled when we arrived but, in true holiday spirit, didn’t object when we explained our purpose.
Our group gathered around Aunt Annie’s bed and began to sing carols ranging from Away in a Manger to Silent Night. We sang song after song until we could think no more, but there was no reaction from the patient lying so motionless in the hospital bed. Finally my sister said, “I have an idea. Before we leave, I want those of us that are able to sing Silent Night in German.”
Several of our group thought they might be able to help with that. My sister took our aunt’s hand in hers and said, “Aunt Annie, We are going to sing Stille Nacht for you and I want you to squeeze my hand if you like that.”
We began our serenade in halting German and soft voices. We made it through the first verse. As we started verse two, tears trickled down Aunt Annie’s checks. Our voices grew ever stronger as we went on to verse three. My sister was so excited she could hardly control herself. “Aunt Annie just squeezed my hand,” she whispered.
Our choir did three encores of Silent Night in our fractured German, the language our aunt grew up with. Before we left each one of us gave Aunt Annie’s hand a little squeeze.
Although it was a slow process, Aunt Annie did regain consciousness and was able to speak. Her life wasn’t perfect, but she lived another ten years, enjoying visits from her family and friends. That Christmas Day, when she began to come out of her coma, seemed like a Christmas Miracle to those of us who were there