Published December 25, 2010
As seen on Fox News Channel on December 25.
I woke up in the middle of the night not feeling well and as I looked out into the snow packed street of Manhattan from my bedroom window; I decided that it was not only going to be the worst Christmas eve of my life, at the age of 19 it was probably going to be my last.
A few hours later I was at my doctor’s office in Manhattan and my family worried whether my next stop was a stay in the hospital for more chemotherapy.
But Dr. Dan Miller smiled the smile of a first time father as he pointed to the X-ray and jubilantly proclaimed,” It’s as clean as a baby’s.”
As I walked out onto 34th Street past a sidewalk Santa near Macy’s I was about to celebrate my best Christmas and not the last . I thought, wow I’ll be home for Christmas.
I could little imagine my wife-to-be and the miracle sentinels of my Christmas future who stand with me today.
For many of us Christmas time causes to recall those we have loved and lost and who will not share this Christmas with us. We remember and we share Christmases past, happy ones and hard ones. Different times, different places, yet we all share a common thread.
For me: Lighting the first advent candle. Blanche and Veronica’s first Christmas. My mother’s happiness at a good prognosis. Giving out coffee and sandwiches and socks on a church’s homeless bread line. And other Christmases I only heard about: Hope even in the midst of the Depression the first rent less Christmas in a cold water tenement after my grandfather’s death. Or my father attending an optimistic Christmas mass on a Pacific Island in 1943 with a band of brothers called Marines, most of whom never had the chance to sing another carol.
Whether trying to keep the family home from eviction or foreclosure for Christmas or with little hope of ever getting home for Christmas the older we get the more we realize it’s more about the journey travelled. And summoning the baby who lives within us.
About the wounded warrior walking or running his first optimistic steps after hopelessly losing his legs.
About my police officer brother running into a burning building to recue homeless men. About children at St Jude’s and other hospitals fighting and winning the opportunity to live their childhood.
Veronica: And we have our own Christmas memories. Of dancing Rockettes at Radio City. Of Christmas Eve mass at St. Patrick’s.
Blanche: Of tutoring children at a community center where even the gift of a candy cane is a source of excitement. Of our mother’s thrill of watching our wonder at seeing the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.
Veronica: Of being with our father on days like this.
Blanche: Of the warmth and hope of home.
Peter: The miracle we celebrate tells us that whether or not we reach home in time it’s the road we travel. That as old as we are, as fortunate we are to live, it’s the baby within that stirs our hope and heals our hearts.
Blanche: Now Joseph and his wife, Mary came to Bethlehem that night and they found no place to bear her child. Not a single room was in sight.
Veronica: But then they found a little nook and in a manger cold and dark. And Mary’s baby boy child was born on Christmas Day.
Peter: The baby’s name is Jesus. I met him when he and I were born again on a cold Christmas eve in a Manhattan doctor’s office thirty years ago.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Peter Johnson Jr. is an attorney and Fox News legal analyst.