As this is the season to reflect on the amazing miracle of the Savior's birth so many years ago, I feel blessed to have the blessing of being involved, albeit distantly, to a modern day miracle as well.
A neighbor and friend of our family has been ill for a few years. He has been an active, healthy man, and is blessed with a lovely wife, and young-adult children, including a married daughter. A disease has plagued his lungs, the origin of which is most likely an inadvertant exposure to asbestos when he was young. While his condition has significantly worsened over the last year or two, in recent months his health has become gravely compromised. His breathing has been intensely labored as his sick lungs have been unable to function anywhere close to a level at which they should.
I have watched, for the most part helplessly, as his frame has aged prematurely while his body uses every available resource to obtain oxygen. Several months ago, testing was complete, which secured his spot on the top of a lung transplant list. The initial announcement was met with joy and anticipation. Days then dragged into long weeks since that important designation. In that time he became a grandfather for the first time, continued to work, and regularly attended Sunday services. And in all this time, no viable options presented themself.
A couple days before Christmas, the long-awaited news arrived. A compatible organ donor's healthy lungs were available. After a flurry of Saturday night testing, surgery began Sunday morning.
As I sat in a beautiful Sabbath Day service celebrating the birth of our Savior, I was moved with emotion. Hymns and carols were sung commerating the life of Jesus Christ, who was born of humble circumstance, lived a pure life, and selflessly gave his life for this world. His life touches mine profoundly each day, for which I am eternally grateful.
However, this Christmas there is a blessing that has emcompassed my thoughts as well. I am grateful to a family, somewhere suffering the penetrating pain of the loss of a loved one. However, through their unspeakable pain has come the miracle of a renewed life. While I do not know of their exact story, as I pray for the recovery of a dear friend, my prayers are also directed toward the family of an unknown person, whose gift, in a very small way is like that of the Savior's, and can never be measured in words.