A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker
We had our own miracle last Christmas Eve.
Like the first Christmas miracle, ours was a miracle of birth. Only our miracle didn't take place in a stable; it happened in a modern, state-of-the-art hospital. Instead of a manger filled with straw, our Christmas baby lay down her sweet head in a comfortably warm, carefully sterilized bassinet. And while there were no cattle or shepherds to attend the birth of our precious little one, there were plenty of nurses, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Not to mention the wise man/doctor occasionally poking a head in. From the east, as I recall.
Now, I know there are tens of thousands of births every day on this planet, and there was nothing that made our experience any more "miraculous" than any other. But for me, it was a magical moment of transformation. Before my very eyes, my son became a father, my wife became a grandmother, my daughters became aunts, my youngest son became an uncle and that basketball in my daughter-in-law's tummy became The World's Most Adorable Granddaughter.
There were some extraordinary moments during that long and . . . well, almost sacred Christmas Eve. No, we didn't have herald angels harking in the heavens, or a new star overhead to light the way to baby Becky. But we did have 8-year-old Jon, excitedly telling everyone: "I'm an uncle! I'm an uncle!" We had two grandmothers - one a veteran, one a first-timer - taking turns monitoring the hospital staff to make sure they were taking proper care of "their" granddaughter. And we had two families coming together at the nursery window to "ooh!" and "ahh!" at the little dark-haired bundle in the bassinet who represented their confluence.
For me, however, the most profound moments involved my son: the joy in his eyes as he held up his daughter for all the family to see; the tender concern etched on his face as he oversaw the poking and probing and assorted testing of little Becky; and the peaceful contentment that emanated from him as he sat in a hospital rocking chair holding his sweet, slumbering child.
I had gone to get him some food - hey, a guy's gotta eat, even on Christmas Eve - and I brought it to the hospital room where the new little family was headquartered. New Mama Jenny was resting comfortably after her ordeal, and Joe was holding Becky. For a moment, I stood silently and watched my son gently cradle his baby in his long, powerful arms. At first, all I could see was the top of Joe's head, as he bent to her, examining her, studying her, kissing her little hands and cheeks. Then he looked up at me, and I could see the tears that were streaming down his face. "You were right," he said as a tear dripped of his cheek and fell softly
on Becky's hand.
I hesitated. I had lectured Joe about so many things through the years, I wasn't exactly sure which thing I had been right about. "I was?" I asked.
He glanced down at Becky, then back at me. "This . . . this . . .feeling," he said. "It's overwhelming. I've never felt anything like it. It's like . . . love . . . squared. To the Nth degree."
I understood. I was feeling that same feeling for my child - and my grandchild. And it made me think that perhaps that is truly the essence of Christmas. It's not just about a child, and it's not just about parents - heavenly or otherwise. It's about love.
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