Archive for December, 2018


December 27, 2018 1 Comment » General

The idea of miracles is quite amazing. Many of our seasonal faith traditions in December are focused on the power of miracles to transform lives. The idea of miracles gives us hope in times of trouble. Miracles create a faith in possibilities beyond our understanding.

It is important at this time of year to think about ways in which miracles can evolve in our own lives. I am not speaking here of great miracles, although they can happen too. Rather, I am referring to the smaller miracles that might be within reach in more ordinary ways. All miracles, including small ones, tend to depend on efforts that persist well beyond the time that the most logical thing to do would be to give up

Here is one small example. One December some years ago, I received the gift of a beautiful pair of leather fur-lined gloves. They meant a lot to me.  A few weeks later, I picked my grandson up from his preschool on a snowy day. When we returned home, I realized that one of the gloves was gone.

As soon as I could, I returned to the school parking lot to search for the glove. It was nowhere to be seen. I returned again for a few days to look for it. Nothing! Whenever I picked my grandson up at school during the following weeks, he and I searched through the large lost and found box. Nothing! I did have other gloves, but I just could not give up on finding that glove. Finally, I gave my grandson’s kind preschool teacher a note to post in the faculty room. I offered a reward if anyone found the glove. No luck! It was definitely time to give up –- but I still looked around for that glove every time I went to the school.

One day at the end of March, I drove to the school again to pick up my grandson. I parked in the same place, close to a school fence, where I had probably lost my glove. After I buckled my grandson into his seat and walked to the front of the car, I just happened to spot something brown and covered with frozen leaves stuck to the school fence. I would not have paid any attention to it whatsoever except for the fact that I was still always looking for that glove. I walked over to the fence – and discovered my lost glove frozen solid in the middle of it. I guessed that I had dropped it on that snowy day in December, and that it had been ploughed into the huge pile of snow that had stood against the fence all winter. I happily brought it home, and wear it to this day.

This little story about a small miracle means a few things to me.  First of all, it means that if I had not cared so much about that glove and had stopped looking for it, I would never have  spotted it on that fence. On a more complex philosophical scale, it means that we need to keep our eyes open for miracles – small or large – long after we might have completely given up on them. For all of us who work daily in the context of very complicated human problems – and I include teachers—it is very important to retain hope in things that seem quite impossible to us. Miracles might come about long after we worked for them— and we might become aware of them later or possibly never know about them in spite of their presence.

While in Israel in 2016, we visited Tzfat (Safed) – an ancient holy site of miracles high in the Galilee.  It is a lovely town – also an artist’s colony—with winding streets and many interesting shops. Our guide had spoken to us about miracles during the trip. She said “First there is an action. Then there is a miracle.” I continue to think a lot about this, because it is ordinary people who must first perform the action – and they must persist in the action although they have no idea that a miracle will actually take place. This is where faith comes in, and I mean a faith that can take many forms within countless systems of belief. We can take on huge problems and act with courage and faith – it may seem hopeless but without our determined actions miracles beyond our sight and understanding cannot take place.

With these thoughts, I extend my warmest and best wishes for a wonderful year in 2019. Whatever your challenges may be as you journey through the new year, don’t lose sight of all the possibilities that exist as you persist with courage and good intentions.

Written  by Beatrice S. Fennimore a teacher educator focused on advocacy and social justice for all children.

The author took this photograph of  the Sea of Galilee