Not all Christmas miracles are on 34th street

Not all miracles are on 34th street

As my friend Joe tells it, it was the late 60s and he’d been living in Chicago for only a few months. He didn’t really know anyone in the city yet. And, just out of college, he couldn’t scrape together the air fare to fly home to Arizona.

“That’s okay,” he thought. “I’ll be fine.”

But on Christmas morning he was definitely not fine. Overnight, the heat went out in his building. When he woke up he could see his breath. The weatherman said it was the coldest Christmas in 20 years.

On top of that, he’d developed a neck pain that was only relieved if he sat perfectly still.

It was Christmas. He was alone. He couldn’t move. And he had no one he could call in the area for help — or even company.

He couldn’t have been more miserable!

Then came a knock at the door.

His neighbor across the hall was checking to see if he was okay. Apparently, the heat had only gone out in Joe’s apartment and all the apartments on the line above and below his. The rest of the building was toasty warm.

So Joe’s neighbor invited him over for Christmas dinner that he and his wife had prepared. Their apartment was warm and filled with the aroma of a Christmas tree and a turkey in the oven.

Some family and friends of his neighbors’ stopped by. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. It was starting to feel like a real Christmas.

And it got even better. One of the guests was a masseuse named Emily. She worked on Joe’s neck for awhile until his pain was gone.

Earlier that morning, when he woke up cold, alone and crippled in pain, he couldn’t have imagined what the day would bring.

About a year later, Joe and Emily were married. They’re still together today. Still in Chicago. They have three grown children and a bunch of grandkids. And every Christmas Joe loves to tell the story of a lonely young man, a faulty furnace, and a neck pain that somehow all spun together into a bona fide Christmas miracle.

I hope your Christmas today is as warm and full of good cheer as Joe’s was all those years ago. And if it isn’t yet, I hope there’s an Emily waiting out there for you.

Merry Christmas!

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