My Christmas Miracle: The Day Death Took A Detour

By CE Johns • December 14, 2016

Miracle - A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency. ~ Webster's dictionary

Not only do I believe in miracles, I expect them to occur in my life in answer to my prayers. Although we don't hear about divine miracles as often nowadays (probably because bad news pushes them off the front page) they do still happen. I know because I was the recipient of a divine miracle on Christmas Day. The following is a true account of my miracle and the events as they occurred that night.

In December 2002, I had been caring for my 83 year old mother throughout her 22 year battle with primary progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS). By far, that year had been the toughest for mother and me. MS had robbed her of the ability to speak and had made eating and swallowing difficult. At the same time, she started having seizures, which gradually became more persistent, progressive, unrelenting and eventually, life-threatening. As a result, mother was hospitalized and given high doses of phenobarbital to quell the seizure activity. We left the hospital 12 days later, just three days before Christmas.

Even though mother couldn't speak, her eyes told me that she was glad to be back home. We both were. After I made her comfortable in bed and checked her feeding tube, I went to bed exhausted. Next morning, the home care nurse came by to check mother's vital signs. That morning, mother seemed oddly detached from the goings on around her. I noticed that she was focused intently on the bedroom window across the room.

After the nurse left, I bathed, dressed, and transferred mother to her wheelchair. She was happy to be out of bed after being in the hospital for so long. We may have lost some ground in our fight against MS during this latest exacerbation, but I told mother that we were not going to let MS get the better of us. We were in this fight together to the end. Sometime later that same afternoon, mother closed her eyes and slipped quietly into a coma. It was Christmas Eve.

For sure, things were not looking good at that point. Nonetheless, I continued to hope that mother would pull through as she had done so often in the past. Taking her back to the hospital was not an option, so I called my sister, and waited for her to come. During the long hours we were alone, I held mother's hand and talked to her. I believed that even in her comatose state, she could still hear me.

Later that evening, my sister joined me in a bedside vigil for our mother. We stood watch as imminent death seemed poised to take our mother from us. I don't remember why now, but for some reason, I needed something from the drugstore. My sister volunteered to go. It was after midnight when she left for the 24-hour pharmacy a few blocks away. It seemed like she was gone for a long time. I wondered if she was somewhere crying? I looked out the window, it was snowing. It was Christmas Day.

Returning to mother's bedside, I reached in to hold her hand. I was startled by how cold her skin had become, like the life blood had suddenly drained out of her. I checked to see if she was still breathing, and she was, but just barely. I hurried to the other side of the bed where hung her 1,000 ml drainage bag. It should have been full since she was still taking in fluids through the feeding tube. Instead, it was empty except for a reddish-brown residue at the bottom. My immediate thought went to her kidneys—could they be shutting down? For the first time, I allowed myself to entertain the real possibility that mother was slipping away. In desperation, I cried aloud, "Mom, it's Christmas Day. Please don't die on Christmas."

As I leaned over mother's bed, I got a sudden urge to use the bathroom. When I returned moments later, I grasped mother's hand again, but something was different. She felt noticeably warmer. Surprised by this, I began feeling for her arms, her legs, her feet, her forehead—her entire body was feverishly hot. I went quickly to the other side of the bed to check her drainage bag. It was filled to its 1000 ml capacity with pale, yellow urine after having been empty only moments before.

Seeing this, I knew without doubt that it was God's doing. God had heard my cry and performed a miracle stopping death in its tracks. Only God can make death take a detour. Knowing mother, I can only imagine that a negotiation took place just outside Heaven's gates between mom and God early that Christmas morning. I can imagine mother holding up one finger, and pleading with God, "Please God, can I go back for one more day? That's my daughter."

Mom died, but not on Christmas Day. She died the day after on December 26 sometime around 1:00 pm. My sister and I were together when mother breathed her last. This might have been the end of the story were it not for Jesus Christ. Because of Christ, life doesn't end at the grave. Who everbelieves in Christ is assured of eternal life. I can't wait to see mother again to find out what really happened on that fateful Christmas Day.

"God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die." ~ John 3:16 CEV

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