Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Message from Cecil Murphey, Author of Christmas Miracles

"Getting excited about Christmas?" asked one of four boys who sat behind me on an Atlanta rapid-transit train.
The event took place during the second week of December and one said, "I'm going to get some cool stuff. My dad promised."
A little later, one of them said, "Christmas is the best of time of the year."

As I listened to them, I thought of that last statement that Christmas is the best time of the year. I agreed, but my reasons were different. They focused on receiving gifts. I smiled because that's a nice aspect of the special time of year.

Yet it's so much more. As a serious Christian, my thoughts focused on the origin of the holiday. In a stable two millennia earlier, a peasant woman gave birth to a baby. That infant was God's miracle gift and that child was to bless the entire world.
Look where we are now. Has it come down to nothing but giving and receiving gifts from each other? Surely there is more.

Immediately, my thoughts shifted from gifts to the significance of that special event. It was a miracle. The Bible says Mary supernaturally conceived and that made Jesus' birth a miracle. As I contemplated the word miracle, my mind flitted from one supernatural story in the Bible to another. There were so many and over thousands of years. I easily recalled healings, deliverance from certain death, victory in battle, as well as miraculous food and water supplied. In the first pages of the New Testament we read of the great miracle that God had promised for hundreds of years: the gift of the world's Savior.

The birth of Jesus is a supernatural, unexplainable event. Sometimes miracles involved the convergence of two or three separate events that cynics would call an astonishing coincidence. At other times the phenomenon happened because of the timing of two actions.

But what about today? If Christmas started with the unexplainable, did the time come when supernatural wonders ceased? Do miracles still happen? In pondering those questions, I thought about Christmas in my life and savored the memory of several Yule-season miracles in my own life. I smiled at recalling my first miracle. At a time during my childhood when we were desperately poor, I needed shoes. I asked for black. From a totally unexpected source, I received my black shoes on Christmas day. No one could have convinced me that God hadn’t provided those shoes. Yes, miracles of Christmas still occurred: I had experienced them.

As I left the rail station and walked to my car, I thought, if I've experienced wonders during this special season, surely there are others who can speak of the unexplainable at Christmas.

In that moment, the idea was born: I would invite other writers to share their miracle stories of the holy season and put them in a book. I teamed with Marley Gibson (who contributed two stories) and we edited every story to give it a unified tone. The book would be our way to proclaim divine love to a fractured, hurting world. It would also remind us that God answers prayer, even in some of the most desperate situations.

Cecil Murphey

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