Friday, December 26, 2008

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels play an important role in the Christmas story. It is an angel who announces to Zechariah in the temple that his wife is to have a son who will become John the Baptist. The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will be the mother of Jesus the Christ. An angel visits Joseph in a dream to encourage him to take Mary as his wife and later warns him to flee to Egypt to escape Herod's murderous designs on the child. An angel likewise warns the Magi in a dream to not let Herod know where he can find the child. Finally, a choir of angels announces the good news of Jesus' birth to nearby shepherds.

Over the past month, an angel played a role in the healing of a teenage girl in Charlotte, North Carolina. Chelsea Banton has battled illnesses since her premature birth in 1983. Most recently, she had been suffering from pneumonia in both lungs after fighting off infections and a collapsed lung. She had made some progress and was breathing on her own when she began experiencing panic attacks which left her crying throughout much of the night. It had gotten to the point that the family was considering taking her off the ventilator and letting her go. Her family and friends gathered for prayer asking God to guide them in making the right decision for the young girl.

Then, a nurse noticed that the security camera had picked up what she described as an angel of light (That must be one heck of a security system!) in the hallway in front of Chelsea's room. The nurse called the mother over, and she was able to get a picture of it on her digital camera. From then on, young Chelsea made a recovery which can only be deemed miraculous.

The story goes on:

Chelsea was removed from intensive care on Nov. 14 and went home three days later.

Her mother believes it was a miracle – attended by a very real angel bathed in light at the door to the pediatric intensive care unit.

“I believe that more people have changed since this happened. I know I have. I look at things differently than I used to – because I know God is in control.”

On Christmas Day, Chelsea will turn 15 – another miracle considering all of the medical trials she's faced, according to her mother.

“I'm learning,” Colleen Banton said, “that every day she's alive is a miracle.”

The rest of the story can be read at

Can we doubt that angels continue their ministry among us?

And what a beautiful witness to the value of every human life. While 53 perfectly healthy children have been abandoned in Nevada since that state instituted a safe haven law, this mother cherished the life of her daughter who will need constant care throughout her life. She doesn't see the life of her daughter, no matter how difficult, to be a burden but a gift. What better Christmas story could we tell?

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