This season brings to mind that miracles aren’t the exception, but the rule of how life works. Crazy as it sounds, we can find miracles in everyday life without even looking, if we are willing to open our eyes and stop standing in our own way.
Natural miracles are performed by the Divine every day. A tornado will tear through a cornfield, but skip over a trailer park or a housing development. A tropical storm will make landfall in an unpopulated area, sparing lives. A deadly winter storm will sputter out shortly before hitting an area ill prepared to take the hit. A family pet waking up everyone in the middle of the night when the house is one fire, saving lives. These are all things which demonstrate Divine grace.
Then there are those miracles performed by the hand of man, but are inspired by the will of something far more powerful than any of us mere mortals. A person, preoccupied with a cellphone messages, pulled back by a friend before a car strikes them. A doctor turns a combination of simple remedies into a powerful treatment to cure a child of disease. A police officer braving a hail of bullets to rescue a baby from a gunfight, and suffering nary a scratch or graze. A laugh given to those suffering from depression, lifting them out of their doldrums.
All of these are examples of miracles.
When we wonder if there truly is a Divine presence, we would be wise to remember the biblical stories of the lamp with one night’s oil burning for eight, the basis for Hanukkah. We would also be wise to remember the story of a few loaves of bread feeding the masses. These are ancient stories, but their message is timeless. How many of us have seen our gas gauge on empty, only to realize we drove for miles before we finally found a station to fill up at? How many of us were nearly broke and hungry, but managed to find a store which had enough items on special to fill our bellies? These are examples of everyday miracles.
Christmas is the time of year we notice these miracles, but we would do well to remember that, despite those who would poo-poo the holiday and its trappings and traditions, everyone gets a chance to do the right thing and be good to each other. Our challenge should be to carry this to every month of the year. Only our own preconceptions, along with the ecumenical parochialism of the religious hierarchy stands in our way. So the challenge is simple; we must find a way to get out of our own way.