Christmas is a busy time of year, with traveling, family gatherings, and parties, but please don’t forget that it is also the time of miracles. Because you are busy, it’s easy to look past the cold neighbor dog left outside on a chain, or the stray shivering in the cold; perhaps you are the only one who can provide the miracle needed.
Unseen they suffer; unheard they cry;
in loneliness they linger; and in agony they die.
The lighted window shows the room so warm and softly glowing;
A tree so tall with twinkling lights and stacks of presents showing.
While just outside, a starving cat stands shivering in the cold,
And down the street, a stray dog limps…tired, sick, and old.
How can we turn away when we know such sad things are so?
And say they don’t concern us…just close our eyes to what we know.
How can we celebrate Christmas while ignoring those who suffer needlessly?
When all the time we know it’s up to us if improvements are to be. We must not turn our backs on their pain just because it’s hard to see. They have no other places to turn; they’ve only you and me.
Mary Martin relates her true story about their miracle dog:
We had promised our son for quite a while that we would get him a dog, but we kept putting it off…we were just so busy. We procrastinated as long as we could before we finally took a trip to the area shelter where we lost our hearts to a scrawny, obviously frightened puppy (not realizing that he would grow up to be quite large one day). We named our new pup Ralph—but maybe he should have been Inch, because of the way he inched his way into our hearts.
Our agreement was “No dog in the house.” We had a large fenced yard and a nice, sturdy doghouse for Ralph, but he wanted to be with his family, so he was soon allowed him into the kitchen. He was obedient, but still longed to go wherever we went. He would lie on the kitchen floor with only his paws on the carpet, then slowly inch forward until we gave in and said, “Oh, come on!” It wasn’t long before he gained our trust and we gave him the run of the house.
He assumed that everyone was his friend, and if a new person walked in the yard, Ralph was there to greet him.. Then, as we would stand and talk, Ralph would slowly inch his way forward to gently lean on the visitor’s leg. Most people would automatically reach down to pet him, but if they didn’t, he would gradually lean a little more, then a little more, until he got the attention he wanted. With patience and persistence, he would earn the love of the most non-dog friendly people. We chuckled because we knew Ralph’s tactics.
Ralph was a mild mannered, well behaved guy, but he wasn’t sure about his first Christmas with us. That big tree filling up the whole corner in the living room just didn’t seem right. His hackles would go up and the growls would come, until he finally accepted the fact that the weird looking monstrosity was not a threat to him or his family. Then he decided that it was his responsibility to protect the tree from intruders…he would lie full length in front of the tree and carefully evaluate visitors. Ralph learned to love Christmas as much as the rest of us, and every year he would station himself as guard dog. He never snooped through the gifts under the tree, and on Christmas morning he listened attentively as we read the Christmas story, and watched politely as we opened our presents. When he got his own gifts, he tore them open with the same enthusiasm we did.
Ralph was a miracle dog. He taught us to recognize many of the miracles of life. We can all learn from this gentle giant: By patiently persisting, we can accomplish great things. Inch by inch. And if we can’t do great things, we can do small things in a great way.
It is our prayer that we all enjoy a blessed Christmas filled with miracles.