REMEMBERING A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE Andy Hollifield 12-16-18
Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room in the inn.
What a crying shame. A woman great with child and nowhere to go. Pregnant and homeless; at least where she was at. No one to care for her and have compassion on her. No doubt folks around her town may have done the math and immediately passed judgment on her. But to be turned out into the cold and especially at Christmas. This truly is a sad story but it is one that is often repeated.
Oh no! You were thinking; oh no, not her. No, this one was in a very similar situation but without the help of a husband. It took place one year ago on the 15th. Her name wasn’t Mary but rather Jacky. Circumstances surrounding her pregnancy were different but the key facts were identical. They were both great with child and neither had a place else to go. Unlike Mary, Jacky found herself alone. Having been put primarily on bed rest by her doctor, it was vital that she get plenty of rest. There was no one that had spent their lives waiting on the birth of her baby as in Mary’s case. No angels telling complete strangers about his birth and no wise men coming from a far country to see him. Just a frightened young lady hundreds of miles away from any of her family and with no one to help her through this time in her life. No one except for three complete strangers.
Given the circumstances of having to leave her apartment, she reached out to a friend who reached out to a friend who reached out to me. A single phone call asking about the work our ministry does with crisis pregnancy centers. That would be all it took to change the lives of several people forever in a way so special that no one would have ever dreamed possible. When I explained the work we do, my friend said that wouldn’t really help and then explained her situation. Not being one to give up easily, and especially where it involved an expectant mother and her baby, I agreed to try to help her find a home. After speaking with Jacky, I was even more determined to help her through her circumstances. After finding a mobile home for here to rent, I was very disappointed when those plans fell through. It was a problem with an insurance company and even the owner of the home was disappointed but his hands were tied. Now is the part where it really gets good.
Out of sheer desperation and not being willing to let Jacky and her baby down, I places a post on Facebook about midnight on Friday December 15th. Just a simple request asking if anyone had a mobile home, apartment, room, or whatever they could rent to this young lady. Just before hitting the share button, I prayed and asked God to help me find a place for her and her soon arriving baby. I continued working on my post for the 16th. Upon completion, I seen that I had a private message. A lady named Paula had messaged me just a few minutes after I shared the post and said that her and her husband had a couple of rooms in their home that weren’t being used and they would be glad to have her and there wouldn’t be any charge.
When Paula first messaged me, she asked who my parents were and explained that her husband thought he might know me. I was astonished to find out that I did know Eric. Not only did I know him, but we had went to church together when I was only 19 years old. Needless to say, that took away all concerns that I had about putting this girl in a home with strangers. When God does something, he does it right. I called Jacky that Saturday afternoon after talking with Paula on the phone, and told her that I had found her a place with a family I knew. I could see God’s fingerprints all over this situation now. Even when Paula and I talked on the phone, we were both in tears talking about his goodness and grace. I made arrangements for Jacky to come to church with my family the next day on Sunday. She even got to meet my friend Shelley, the lady that had first called me about her situation. That afternoon, Jacky followed me to Eric and Paula’s house to meet them. I had never met Paula myself but it was like seeing an old friend. God’s spirit definitely bears witness with kindred souls. It was great to see Eric again after not seeing him for about 20 years or so.
To say that we all fell in love with Jacky would be an understatement. Not only did she have a place to stay for as long as she needed, it came complete with two families. She became like a daughter to my wife and I and also another sibling to Paula’s family. She had two boys and two girls already grown and married with families of their own. If I am counting right that is four kids and their spouses, surrogate brothers and sisters, plus Paula and Eric. That is 10 plus the nine grandkids (cousins) Paula had at that time. Then there is three in my family and even my mom who also got acquainted with her. That is 23 people who God put into her life to see her through those difficult days.
The 8th of January brought a trip to the hospital with severe labor pains. No one had really planned it, but Paula became like a mother to Jacky, even staying with her day and night in the hospital and in the delivery room. On the 9th, the object of all of this love and affection finally made his appearance into the world. I was the first man who got to hold little Sam and I am still humbled each time I recall how God let me be a part of this whole story. There may not have been three wise men there, only three complete strangers that God had molded into family over the previous few weeks.
Today marks the anniversary of when I first talked to Paula after midnight in a private message. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the first time Jacky met Eric and Paula. One year later, Sam has just started walking and has a wonderful grandpa in Eric whose heart he has wrapped around his tiny finger. He also has a grandma that is a wonderful cook and has plenty of grandma experience and has been with him from the moment he arrived. As far as myself, I never was blessed with a daughter; at least until now. I am not likely to ever have grandchildren of my own so Sam is an extra special blessing to me. At his dedication service, I could hardly even pray as I held him and realized just how blessed I and my family were to be a part of his and his mom’s life.
No this isn’t a miraculous conception and birth and there was no manger or shepherds or star shining above. There were however plenty of angels and a loving God looking down from above at all that he had brought to fruition. However, it is a miraculous story of how God brought all of us together and gave Jacky and Sam two families that love them as their own. Thanks for all the prayers all of you have prayed on behalf of Jacky and Sam. God has heard and answered in ways previously unimaginable. That is our little Christmas miracle. Thanks for allowing me to share it with you. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!