Below is a transcript from a Georgene Rice KPDQ FM interview with Cecil Murphey, co-author, along with Marley Gibson, of “Christmas Miracles”, a collection of inspirational Christmas stories.
In the book…
– A man lies gravely ill in a hospital on Christmas, and when he hears angels singing, he immediately makes a full recovery.
— A little boy with dyslexia who sits down to read a Christmas book and realizes that his disability has vanished.
— A woman whose faith is renewed by the chance discovery of a simple nativity set.
Many ordinary people experience God’s grace during those special moments when Christmas becomes more than just a holiday, a date on a calendar or a national occasion, but a time for miracles.
Georgene: I just love collections of stories that are inspirational, but especially when those stories are true and sort of trace the hand of God in the lives of people who desperately need some encouragement, who need healing, who need inspiration, and that is precisely what this collection of stories is. Tell us about how you came up with the idea and why at Christmas.
Murphey: Well, it started more than a year ago. I was on a train and there were some teenagers, and all they could talk about was what they were going to get for Christmas—the gifts—and I kept thinking, “It’s too bad they don’t understand what Christmas really is about.” And then a few days later I was talking with my literary agent, and I said, “We need to get something out there to turn people to think about Jesus Christ as God’s great gift,” and we came up with this idea for a book of miracles.
Georgene: Let’s begin by giving you the opportunity to tell your own story that you write in the book, “My First Christmas”.
Murphey: I wasn’t a believer growing up. I was in the Navy, and I met this woman, planned to marry her and spend the rest of my life with her, and then she dumped me. It just threw me, and eventually, that’s what brought me to Jesus Christ. I started going to a church, and I met a woman named Shirley whom I married. Just before Christmas, several of us got together—all Christians—for a Christmas party at the Officer’s Club. They were singing “O Come All Ye Faithful”… and I looked out the window, and it was snowing heavily, and the lights were all on, and it looked like the perfect Christmas picture on the outside….and on the inside these people were singing “O Come All Ye Faithful”…and I can’t explain, but it was one of those powerful moments when Christmas became a reality to me. I had sung those Christmas hymns before, but I don’t think I ever understood those words in my heart until that moment, and that was my miracle…. I finally understood that Jesus Christ was my gift from God.
Georgene: Can you share another story?
Murphey: Marly’s (co-author) parents were going home right after Christmas from Boston to Alabama, and they got caught in a blizzard, and the roads were treacherous—hardly any traffic—and they got a flat tire…..and they were scared, but they decided they needed to do something or they would freeze to death. Just as her father got out of the car to change the tire, two young men came up to him and said, “Sir, we see you have a flat tire, and we’d like to fix it for you.” And he said, “No, I’ll be fine,” and they said, “No, we’ll take care of it”….So he got back in the car, and he and his wife were afraid and were both praying, and he locked the door. About 5 minutes later, the two men came back and tapped on the window, and her father rolled the window down just about four inches, and the two men handed him the keys and they said, “The tire’s fixed, you’re ready to go.” He realized how foolish he’d been, and he said, “Wait, let me pay you,” and they said, “No sir, this is our Christmas gift to you,” and they walked away. And by the time he got out his wallet and out of the car, he couldn’t find them, and he walked around the car, and the only footprints he could find were his own. Now that’s a miracle. Those are God’s messengers sent to us.
Georgene: One of the stories that was particularly intriguing to me was another one of yours, the title is “Facing Failure at Christmas”. You write, “My father failed me in many ways: he was an alcoholic, he regularly beat me—even worse was that I didn’t believe my father loved me. He never used the word “love”. I’m not sure it was part of his vocabulary.” Now, one wouldn’t typically expect to find an opening paragraph in a book on Christmas miracles that starts as dreary as that. These are stories that come out of real life that I think people will relate to because of their similar circumstances….Tell us the rest of this story because it belongs in this book.
Murphey: My father died, and I was never able to really communicate with him. I tried—it wasn’t that I didn’t try. He died just a few hours before I reached him. My Dad was very anti-Catholic, and God used a Catholic priest to bring my father to Jesus Christ. So though we never had a real reconciliation, he did become a Christian.
The following year, Christmas was coming around, and I had really struggled for a long time to forgive my father for the way he had treated me. As I was sitting around with my children who were now married and had children, I thought about that, and I said to them, “I’ve had a hard time forgiving my father. I don’t want to die and have you struggle with that afterward. So I’m telling you right now that I know I’m imperfect, I know I’ve failed you in a lot of ways, and I’m asking you please forgive me now….My oldest one, she said “That’s fine”.. The youngest one, a son, also said, “That’s fine”. But it was our middle one, she had been our problem child all along…so I was waiting for her to really blast me, and instead she turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, “Dad, I remember that no matter what I did, you always loved me.” And then tears streamed down my face. That was so powerful. I realized here’s the miracle: I had focused on my failures and all of the things I had done wrong, but my children focused on my love for them.
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