Christmas is a holiday for those who believe in miracles. Christians believe that a virgin gave birth to a savior, heralded by an angelic choir and the arrival of the Magi, guided by the star of Bethlehem.
But are miracles limited to biblical times?
A case could be made that several miraculous events might well have occurred to Sauk Valley folks since last Christmas.
When fire swept through eight downtown buildings in Prophetstown in the overnight hours of July 15, some second-floor apartment residents were fast asleep.
As flames devoured the historic buildings, would they escape?
Yes, they did. One apartment dweller smelled smoke and escaped with her life. Three other apartment dwellers, sound asleep with the air conditioning on, were awakened by a friend and got out safely.
Was it mere coincidence that eight buildings were destroyed and nobody was hurt? Or something else?
In Dixon, community residents were pleasantly surprised by a September announcement that the city reached an out-of-court settlement with its former auditors and a bank regarding ex-Comptroller Rita Crundwell’s theft of nearly $54 million over two decades.
“Surprised” might not be entirely accurate. How about shocked? A $40 million recovery is much more than most people expected.
But it happened. Some would credit a talented lawyer, meticulous research, and shrewd negotiating skills for the city’s success. To others, the unbelievable news seemed nothing short of miraculous.
Then there was “the Miracle of Mount Baldy” on July 12 near Michigan City, Ind., where a 6-year-old Sterling boy was buried in a collapsed sand dune for nearly 4 hours and still survived.
Dozens of rescuers dug and dug before finding Nathan Woessner beneath 11 feet of sand, cold and apparently lifeless, but alive. After spending 2 weeks in a hospital and undergoing respiratory therapy, Nathan returned home.
Greg and Faith Woessner would later express their thanks at a special ceremony to the 139 people involved in the rescue. Their son survived “because of the diligence and grace of your hands and the grace of God,” Greg said.
In his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy, whose untimely death Americans recalled last month, said, “… [H]ere on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”
People, working together, can achieve miraculous outcomes.
We think that’s worth keeping in mind this Christmas.