And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” –Luke 2:8-11
Daniel was born with a degenerative heart condition. This problem was in remission for most of his childhood and teen years. He lived a normal kid’s life filled with friends, baseball and drama. But, in his junior year of high school, he had massive heart failure. As his condition worsened. He had spent several months at Stanford Medical Center in what they call “Life Row”, waiting for a heart transplant.
On December 22, the hospital sent Daniel home for Christmas expecting him to die before they could find a heart for him. But he was immediately rushed back to the hospital because a matching heart became available and, at age 17, Dan had a successful heart transplant operation.
Three days later on Christmas day, his Mom read Luke 2 to Daniel while he was in recovery. Then she read the stacks of get-well cards from people all over the country who were praying for him. She pulled a card from the Midwest out of the pile and read this note to Dan:
Even though we do not know you, my husband and I feel so close to you and your family. Our only son, Lloyd, was your heart donor. Knowing that you have his heart has made our loss so much easier to bear. With all our love,
Paul and Barbara Chambers*
Daniel wrote later about that experience:
“I couldn’t fight the tears any longer. And suddenly I knew more clearly than ever the real reason why I should be celebrating Christmas. In dying, the Chambers’ only son had given me life. In dying, God’s only Son had given life, eternal life. Now I felt like shouting out loud my thanks that Jesus Christ was born!
‘Thank You, Lord!’ I said. ‘And bless you,’ I said as I thought of the young man who had signed the donor card that gave me my greatest Christmas present of all, ‘Bless you, Lloyd Chambers.'” *
So often in life we are given gifts and don’t realize the sacrifice that has been made for us to receive them. Take a moment to think about the cost of our greatest gift, Jesus Christ.
1. If you were Daniel, what would your response be to that letter?
2. What is the spiritual significance of today’s devotional?
* Guideposts Magazine (Carmel, NY: December 1989), 28.