Silent Night

It was a silent night except for the gentle sounds of the machines in the ICU at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. I was looking out the 5th story window at softly falling snow and gazing at the lights decorating the city just days before Christmas. I seemed to have lost track of time, but just three days before, our 13-year-old daughter had been injured in a car wreck that claimed two lives and left 5 other people injured. Hannah had suffered a closed head injury and had been unconscious since the wreck. She had been airlifted an hour away to Asheville and received quick and thorough care.

Now it was a matter of waiting. The uncertainty of  not knowing whether she had permanent brain damage, or would ever wake up was the situation we faced. The outpouring of prayer and love had been overwhelming. So many people came to visit and show support that Phil and I were surrounded with God’s love in the midst of anguish for our daughter and for the other dear friends who were injured  – including the one friend who was gone.

Phil had driven home to be with our other three children, so I was alone for the first time in the room with Hannah. I held her hand praying and asking God to allow her to feel His presence and love even in her comatose state. I had heard that individuals often hear when in a coma so I began singing.

           “Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, all is bright…”

All of a sudden a voice joined in with me. It was Hannah! She began singing “Silent Night” with me and tears began streaming down my face. Our Hannah was back with us! I called in the nurse and she rejoiced with me and began asking Hannah questions for evaluation. From that moment on, Hannah made rapid progress and we were able to take her home only 3 days later.

I can never sing “Silent Night” without rejoicing over Hannah’s full recovery. Hannah and I have shed tears together many times recalling God’s gracious presence and healing power demonstrated that night in the hospital.

Yet more wonderful than Hannah’s healing and restoration is the truth of that Holy Night when Christ the Savior was born. God sent His Son, Jesus, as a baby born in a humble yet glorious situation.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And He will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Christmas is even more special to our family because of our memories and praise for Hannah’s recovery.  As wonderful as  it was that night Hannah returned to consciousness (I will never forget it), it pales in comparison with the birth of Jesus. Nearly 700 years before Jesus’  birth Isaiah said He would be called –

        Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Nothing can compare with the birth of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings!

As we celebrate with family this year, let’s celebrate the uniqueness of each family member and be thankful they are with us. As we celebrate that Holy Night – the birth of Jesus, let’s keep our attitudes in tune with the purpose for which God sent His Son –

John 3:16 (NIV)

 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God so loved the world – let us share that love! Merry Christmas!

14 thoughts on “Silent Night

  1. Cathy Makinson says:

    This has to be one of my favorites so far!


  2. Terri Pendergraph says:

    My Favorite too….


  3. Thank you, Terri. May you have a blessed and Merry Christmas!


  4. Karen K. says:

    Thank you and glad Hannah is part of my life now. Now, I’m going to cry when we sing Silent Night tomorrow.


  5. Tina Walkingstick says:



  6. Peggy B. says:

    I had never heard this story before and I am so glad I took the time to read it! What a blessing for you to have shared with us and what a blessing your daughter is to all who know her! God had plans for her as she is a witness for his son and such a wonderful mama! I already cry when singing this song, But I will now smile thinking of Hannah and how blessed we truly are! Merry Christmas to your whole family!!!


  7. Jill says:

    I am very thankful for the period of time that I got to spend with Hannah and your family. Thank you for sharing this story again. Have a very Merry Christmas Woody’s!


  8. Jack Odom says:

    Gayle, I stumbled on this through Facebook ( Terry Pendegraff posted it). This is a blessing, thank you for doing these little life experiences, I believe they are greatly needed by the Body of Christ. The older women are to teach the younger women and it seems that this has been missing the past decade or so – at least where I am. I appreciate your sharing of failures, I believe this is vital to the Body being encouraged. An old man that is almost 100 now, and has been a true father in the Lord to me, has said that : “Dung is not a nice word, but it sure makes good fertilizer.” Anyway, thank you, and bless you! Please give my greetings to Phil. Jack Odom


    • Dear Jack,

      Thank you so much. You are right – I benefitted so much from the wisdom of older Godly women like Sally Fesperman, Sue Makinson, and Elizabeth Elliot. They had such positive impact on my spiritual growth and my life as a mother. I am hoping to pass that on, by God’s grace. Please feel free to share this blog with any young mothers you may know. God bless you and your precious family in the coming year.


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