Christmas is often referred to as the most magical time of the year. It’s a time for friends and family, a time for celebration, a time for festivities and feasts and spreading holiday cheer. But sometimes that magic can get lost in the hustle-and-bustle of the season – there are gifts to buy, decorations to be hung, meals to be prepped; it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the traditions and forget the true meaning of the holiday.
But the magic of Christmas always has it way of finding you when you least expect it. And such is the case in the following story. StoryBlend user Randy Walters submitted this heartwarming tale recollecting a Christmas that could have gone down as his worst, but ended up become his best thanks to a true Christmas miracle.
“It was Christmas Eve of 1960. I lived in a small coal mining/steel mill town outside of Pittsburgh PA called Monongahela. I was 7 years old and sleeping all warm and toasty in bed by 7pm cause Santa Clause was coming. I was awakened by a loud BOOM about 11pm. I got up, sat on the top of stairs and listened to hear what my parents were going to say. It wasn’t good, our coal furnace blew up and we had no heat. It was already in the low 20’s and snowing.
I was about to sneak back into bed when the doorbell rang. It was our neighbor Tony from two homes down. He said he heard the BOOM and wanted to make sure we were all ok. My dad told him the coal furnace blew and they went to the basement. I once again sat perched on our top stairs, too worried to sleep, after all we now had no heat and Santa might have to skip us tonight!
After a few agonizing minutes Dad and Tony emerged from the cellar. Tony asked my dad what were his plans. My dad said get the kids up and go stay with one of my aunts till Monday, when someone can come out with a new furnace.
Tony left and I slipped back into bed- didn’t want my parents to know I was totally aware of our situation. But after 30 minutes, with the house getting chilly, the doorbell again rang.
This time it was Tony and 3 other guys I or my parents didn’t know. Mind you, it’s now almost midnight, Christmas Eve, and 3 strangers to us, but friends of Tony’s, showed up to help us. They took their tools to the basement and got to work removing the damaged coal furnace. Then our phone rang, it was our Parish priest, he somehow knew of our predicament and offered us several electric space heaters. And he delivered them that night. So pretending to be asleep, my mom placed a heater in my room and my brothers’. I slept like a baby after that.
When I woke up at 7am, I realized that a REAL Christmas miracle happened over those hours I slept. I also learned that the human spirit, friends and faith are the most powerful forces in the world.
It took the crew 2 hours to remove the old furnace and lay it outside in the snow. While the 3 strangers removed it, my dad and Tony drove his pickup to the next town over, where a friend of Tony’s owned a hardware store and had an electric furnace in stock, and agreed to meet Dad and Tony at 1:30am. They loaded the furnace into the truck when my dad realized he left his checkbook at home. The owner of the store said ‘Pay me after the holidays, Merry Christmas.’
So while my mom baked cookies and made sandwiches for all the guys, they worked through night like elves to install the new furnace. By 6:30am, we had heat again! One amazing neighbor and 3 complete strangers gave up their Christmas morning to help my family. Instead of sleeping and enjoying their Christmas, they left covered in black coal dust, well fed, and refused any money from my dad for their work.
It was, as I look back after 66 years, a true Christmas Miracle and the BEST Christmas ever!”