Some of the stories received by editors of Pravoslavie.ru by mail.
The Nativity of Christ is a festival of extraordinary kindness and warmth, when all of us, like children, wait for miracles. And the Lord as a loving Father comforts us and grants us miracles, as testified by your miraculous Christmas stories, our dear readers.
“Your child is waiting for you!”
From childhood I suffered much from ill health. When I grew up, the doctors used to say that I would never have children. So did not hope for anything. On Christmas Eve of 1992, in the evening, I went for a walk along the city with a friend. As I walked I saw snow, snowdrifts and the twinkling of stars around me. All around was only pristine purity, and an extraordinary quiet.
And suddenly, amid all this beauty, I heard a voice inside my soul that came from above: “Your child is waiting for you!” I was dumbfounded. And two months later I met my future husband. We married in Church and God granted us two children. This is my real Nativity miracle! Glory be to God!
“On Christmas Eve I came to church with my children, all in tears because of lack of money and the cold”
I divorced my husband who was a drug addict. I am not going to describe my life—it is clear as it is… I worked as a kindergarten teacher and took care of two my sons and my mother. There was lack of money and I ran into debt. I was worn out and exhausted…
Then on Christmas Eve I came to church with children, all in tears because of my lack of money and the cold. I asked, “Lord, send me a husband to help me raise my children, because it is so difficult to do it on my own!”
Thus I prayed fervently. Some time later I met a foreign man, married him and moved abroad. And my new husband helped me raise my sons; I came to believe in God and now go to church. God also sent us a daughter who is now eleven years old. That is a genuine miracle!!! Merry Christmas!!!
“On Christmas Eve I was about to go to work”
I was supposed to work the night shift on Nativity Day. We used to go and celebrate the Nativity at night. But this time I was supposed to be at work. In the evening I came up to the icon of Christ and asked: “Lord, am I really such a sinner and have offended You so much that You are not inviting me to Your birthday?” I was very upset.
On Christmas Eve I was about to go to work when a girl from the previous shift called me and said that there my shift was cancelling because the work had finished. We celebrated the Nativity of Christ at church. Glory to God!!! Merry coming Christmas!!!
“If it were not for the fire…”
This story happened on Christmas Day. The winter of 1947 was severe, with temperatures of about minus forty degrees, and hunger. We were fortunate to have a good supply of firewood.
Before the Revolution the Institute for Noble Maidens was located in our house. The whole residential area belonged to the military, with barracks, a commandant’s office, the officers’ house, and a hospital nearby. A very good neighborhood—officers used to invite young ladies to balls.
The Cathedral of the Holy Venerable Right-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky (the parish church of the entire district) was built by group effort in the early nineteenth century in honor of the victory over Napoleon, in memory of fallen soldiers. Emperor Alexander personally contributed to the cause and suggested the church be dedicated to his patron saint—a military leader and monk. The whole garrison lived under a special, spiritual protection.
In the 1930s the church was blown up. A factory was built on its ruins, and it was popularly known as the “burning factory” because it suffered regular fires. The last fire destroyed the enterprise completely.
And it is this last fire that played a key role in our miraculous story.
The old house was filled with residents, and somebody even lived in a tiny room under the stairs. The building was of durable materials, comfortable, with broad squeaky stairs, light windows and high ceilings. Giant poplars grew in the yard, which made it a whole green world, where birds would nest in summer and boys would climb onto boughs and play spy. The residents grew apple trees, flowers and even vegetables in a small garden.
A widow with two daughters lived on the first floor in a sun-lit flat with numerous windows and a huge stove. They had been evacuated to the city from Kaunas (southern Lithuania). Her husband was a military pilot. The children were born in Pushkin. In 1940, the father was transferred to the Baltic and the family moved to be with him. Nobody warned anybody…
On the first day of the war, Kaunas was bombed. The father left for an hour, saw his family and neighbors off on a train, and gave them some dry rations. They left behind everything and took only the children’s clothes with them. They headed eastwards, to a brother, where they spent the war years. In 1944 the father was killed.
In those days, New Year’ Day was celebrated instead of the Nativity of Christ throughout the country. Though the family knew about Christmas. (They quietly celebrated Easter, too).
The night before the Nativity was marked by severe cold, so the stove was heated thoroughly. Carbon monoxide started penetrating into the flat on account of some malfunction or because the flue had been closed too soon—nobody noticed this as all had gone to sleep.
The fire at the factory began after midnight. Burning fragments from the storehouse were scattering about. Our house stood very near. Sparks, plywood, and ashes were flying onto our roof. The firefighters feared that the house would catch fire and started evacuating the residents. The above-mentioned family did not open the door for a long time. But the fireman was stubborn—he woke them up and commanded them to go outside—to a hard frost. Out in the fresh air, they completely recovered their breath, returned to normal, and then ventilated their flat.
An unbelievable coincidence! If it were not for the fire…
The Church of the Holy Right-Believing Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky was never restored. We—the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those girls—now attend the Cathedral of St. Sergius of Radonezh on Christmas Day. On family occasions, children are fond of looking at old photographs, and we all feel the invisible presence of our beloved deceased relatives. And we feel their invisible spiritual protection.
“My problems with employment were solved and I gave up smoking”
I would like to share my miraculous story that occurred on Christmas Day. I have very fresh and great memories related to the Nativity of Christ, which I think will remain with me forever!
It was on Christmas Day two years ago that I first came to church. It was in the city of Manchester in northern England. And, as is and has always been the case with many other people, I decided to stay there forever.
I came with my secular, worldly problems, hoping that God would help me. I always believed in God but before then it had been sufficient to me that He exists; but it was on that very radiant day that I felt the presence of the Lord with all my being! It was an ineffable sense of joy and love for all people around me and even for all strangers! Not suspecting what might happen to me, I was pondering on how I would be received in church—a place that had once seemed unfamiliar, alien and unnecessary to me.
I left the church absolutely transformed, feeling such lightness and affection for everyone I met in the street that I couldn’t help smiling, and the smile did not leave my happy face for at least another couple of hours. It really was a miracle that occurred exactly on that remarkable day of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ!
On the following day my problems with employment were solved, and I gave up smoking, which had been a bad habit of mine in my former life. But the main thing was that I became a deeply religious person and started to change my lifestyle.
“Our car started skidding across the road and spinning 360 degrees“
We visited your website to read about the Nativity and decided to contribute an account of our miracle.
On January 6, we were returning from our friends’ country house to Moscow. At one point I was passing another vehicle and straightening out when our car ran into a snowdrift; I was very scared, and braked.
At that moment our car started skidding across the road and spinning 360 degrees. We were driving across the road and were horrified. I was steering the wheel without understanding what I was doing or what I ought to be doing. I had various thoughts in my mind. But I was terribly afraid for my daughter. She was very small and had her whole life ahead of her.
At one moment, as we were driving across the road in the oncoming lane and approaching the edge of this road, I spotted a signpost and thought that we were either going ram into it or fall into a ravine in the next moment. And instantly I uttered this phrase to myself: “Lord have mercy!”
Immediately our automobile stopped by this signpost and some fifty centimeters (c. 19.6 inches) from the ravine edge. It was truly a real miracle! God prevented any vehicles from moving in the oncoming lane, while two cars behind us were moving slowly as they witnessed everything.
I got out of the car, fell to my knees and said, “Glory to Thee, O God, and thanks be to Thee, O Lord!” It was a miracle, because when two minutes later we got back on our car and returned to our lane, other cars started moving one after another in the lane where we had just been. God and our guardian angels saved us before the Nativity!
“Thus my life in Church began”
A miracle occurred to me on Christmas Day! The first prayers that I learned by heart were the troparion and kontakion to the feast of Nativity. I read them before going to bed and wept out of joy, though I couldn’t explain why. Thus my life in Church began! I still don’t know why I started reading them. There can be only one explanation: My guardian angel, weeping for my dying soul, prompted me to read a prayer-book for children!
“Dreams and hopes come true at Christmas”
We had long heard many good things about His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia, and we knew that he is a great man of God. So we dreamed of seeing him, even if at a distance and only once in our lives. During Christmastide I once saw on TV an announcement of a Christmas festival at the International House of Music in Moscow. As I am a lover of music, I was keen on going there, especially to the opening ceremony. My dad went to book the tickets but, as it turned out, only tickets for the closing ceremony were left. Despite this, we were very happy all the same. We took our seats which were far above.
And at the beginning of the concert it was suddenly announced that an eminent guest was present at the hall: Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia. We were spilling over with gladness and amazement! I know that many dream of seeing him in person even in Georgia, and it would seem that we, living in Moscow, had no chance! We ran down and saw the patriarch a meter from us. We could have taken his blessing, but I showed lack of spirit and for some reason dared not do it. Later I reproached myself for this a long time.
But this is not the point! His grace touched us all the same. It was a great joy. Thus, dreams and hopes always come true at Christmas. This is a great feast and it is impossible to enumerate all miracles that have occurred to us on this day.
“My bad knee stopped bothering me”
This evening I had been to the Nativity Cathedral in Riga. I venerated the icons there along with the shrine with the relics of Hieromartyr John of Riga. With difficulty I knelt down before the saint three times and prayed. And as I was going away I realized that my bad knee (which had been troubling me non-stop for several days before) stopped bothering me. Thank God and the Holy Martyr John! Happy feast of the Nativity of Christ to everybody!!!
“The main miracle in my life!”
Yes!!! The main miracle in my life! My path to the Church of Christ began precisely on Christmas Day. I was at my first Liturgy on this very day and this presence at the Liturgy opened me a path to God! Soon I became Orthodox!!! Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!
Merry Christmas to everyone!!! I wish a festive mood to all!!!
“Shortly before the Nativity my kidney started hurting”
I want to greet all Orthodox Christians on the great feast of Nativity of Christ! Shortly before the Nativity my kidney started hurting. I had excruciating pain. I started praying to Jesus. Three hours later I decided to call an ambulance… But after the call the pain suddenly disappeared, for which I unceasingly thank God. I cancelled the call and realized that one should always believe and hope for His help and should never doubt!!!
“Joy flooded my soul”
This miracle, which occurred on the feast of Nativity of Christ, is connected with the Cincture of the Most Holy Theotokos. A group of pilgrims from our church went to Kaliningrad to venerate the Girdle of the Mother of God. At my request, I was brought two small ribbons blessed on the Holy Cincture and I gave one of them to my daughter-in-law. It was in November. And on the feast of Nativity I became melancholy when standing at the church: it was such a great feast but I was in low spirits. I decided to venerate the wonderworking Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God. The church was packed with people and one could hardly get access to the icon.
But when I approached the icon there wasn’t a living soul near it; and I suddenly spotted a very small paper icon of “the Mother of God with the Cincture”, mounted in a frame, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. I understood that the icon was meant for me because at home I am in the habit of putting small icons into the frame of a larger icon.
Joy flooded my soul! And my son and his wife informed me that they were expecting a child. On the feast of the Meeting of the Lord we learned that it was a boy and that he was born on October 11. Now my grandson is over one year old. This is our continuous wave of miracles. Glory be to God forever! Christ is born, glorify Him! Our Nativity greetings to all!
“My companions thought that I died on the spot”
This happened in 2005 when I was sixteen. I was staying at my aunt’s in Kharkiv, Ukraine. So my friends and I got drunk near the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. At that time I had a bad lifestyle, disobeyed my parents and smoked marijuana.
So it was the Nativity night with carols and children running with their bags in the streets… And I suddenly slipped on the stairs and fell on my back of the head, while there was ice everywhere around and the doorstep was ironclad. At that moment my companions thought that I died on the spot because, as they said, not many survive after such falls.
It is not possible to express in words what I experienced and felt in that minute, but it was then that I began to appreciate the value of human life, and I pledged not to get drunk any more and to obey my parents!!! By the way, there was no bruise or even a scratch left on my back of the head! That event was an eye-opener for me! Currently I am in my twenty-fifth year and I try to attend church regularly. And now I firmly know that all things happen according to the will of God. For some time I was supported much by Archpriest Viktor from Zharki village (Ivanovo province) and I was shown what life in the backwoods was like! Father, thank you and may God grant you many years!
“Hurry up and go to Jesus Christ!”
It was more than ten years ago. I was not a churchgoer then. From childhood I associated the Nativity with carols and Christmas Eve when we, children, would bring kutia [a cereal dish, usually boiled rice with raisins and honey, served at Christmas Eve and funerals in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and parts of Poland] to our grandparents. And once I dreamed that I was walking up the stairs to a large church and then coming to the church shop.
Then I came up to the counter and chose a beautiful and bright card that caught my fancy. I bought the card and opened it, and saw the words on it: “Hurry up and go to Jesus Christ!” After that I woke up—it was seven o’clock on January 7. I dressed and went to the cathedral for the service. My life in the Church began from that day. At present I work at a monastery. Isn’t it a miracle?!
“By the time of the service I was as fit as a fiddle, as if there had been no symptoms”
This is a miracle that occurred to me, no matter how small it may seem. It was as far back as 1997. A short time previously, some oil blessed on the Holy Sepulcher had been brought to our parish.
In the evening of January 6 I felt chest pains and began to cough. The picture was clear: I had caught a cold and could only expect a high temperature and fever by the following morning (which meant I would stay at home, as was the case with me every time I fell ill).
Then I was still a choir singer and a cold was the worst thing I could expect. After reading the evening prayers I also read a prayer to the Holy Greatmartyr Panteleimon (by the way, without strong faith—just in case) and took a little sip of that oil. By the time of the service I was as fit as a fiddle, as if there had been no symptoms.
“It was a real Christmas miracle that I found the keys in the snow!”
At Christmas night our son went to the midnight service with his friend, while my husband and I decided to take a stroll in the frost (it was about twenty degrees of frost). We were in high spirits and even slid down a knoll on pieces of cardboard (that had been left by children) two times.
But as we came back home we discovered that our keys had been lost. The first thing we did was to run back to the slide but there were no keys there. My husband had some money with him, so we dropped in at a café, ordered coffee and spent some time there. Then we proceeded to a supermarket with round-the-clock service and walked inside it until the guards started looking askance at us. We went out and lost heart: we had plenty of time before the morning when our son was to return from church and the metro was to open again, and there was a sharp frost…
I started praying to God: “Surely, we are sinners and do not deserve a holiday. But, please, have mercy on us!” And I saw my husband twisting the cork of a bottle of beer that he had drunk on the way back home from the slide. And a picture: he is throwing something in the snow—the keys! We approximately remembered the place, but it was a real Nativity miracle that I found the keys in the snow!
“Bells resounded right until the train’s arrival”
At one time in my life, circumstances were such that I moved to live in a small town in Germany. There are no Orthodox churches in our town but we are fortunate to have Orthodox churches in Hamburg. As a rule, I travel to Hamburg for church services by train and make a transfer at one small station.
Every year I try to come to the midnight Nativity service, but some six years ago I had no opportunity to go. So early in the morning of January 7 I prepared for a journey and set off before daybreak. At the transfer station I had to wait a little for a train to Hamburg.
On that Sunday morning there were no other people (besides me) waiting for a train on the platform. It was slightly frosty, a beautiful light snow was falling, but I was frightened of being alone on a dark, empty platform. I started praying by myself in order not to be afraid and not to worry.
And all of a sudden I began to hear the ringing of bells at a distance. At first I thought that it just seemed to me. But time went on and the solemn, joyous peal continued. Beyond all doubt, I thanked God for such a joy and blessing; at that moment I was probably the happiest person in the world and was afraid of nothing!
The bells resounded right until the train’s arrival. I feel certain that they tolled after my departure as well, but I hurried to my church for the festive Liturgy. Merry Christmas!!! My warmest greetings on the Nativity of Christ to all!!!
“My daughter fell on her back from a height of two meters”
Much to my regret, I am not a churchly person and go to church very seldom. Yet I have experienced true miracles as well: When I was having very, very hard times, I felt the invisible but tangible and real help of God.
And today a miracle has occurred to me. I was walking with two little daughters and, while I lingered with the younger one, the older one (she will be four years old soon) managed to climb to the top of a high playground ladder and began waving her tiny hand at me. So before I could take her off or prevent her from falling, my daughter fell on her back from a height of two meters!!!
An ambulance took us to a hospital and my toddler had an X-ray taken. And, glory be to God, no fracture was detected!!! For me who witnessed her fall from the ladder it is a genuine miracle! It was decided to leave the daughter at hospital with her grandmother for an additional medical examination; but she smiles, sits, walks… I hope from the bottom of my heart that God sends her good health. Please, pray for the health of infant Valeria.
“At Christmas all wolves are kind”
That year I was waiting for guests. And on the Nativity Day Irochka [a diminutive form of the name Irina] came and, trying to help me, brought some wine glasses (that I waited for) and a cake that she had baked. We intended to go to church; for several days I had been looking forward to hearing this joyful, jubilant singing again and again: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men…”
We sat down on armchairs face to face for a short while and Ira [short for Irina] asked, “Aunt Tanya [short for Tatiana], can you tell me about the Nativity?” Nobody and nothing can express the spirit of the Nativity more beautifully than a church Nativity service. And, in order to draw a bit nearer to the Church’s heights, I said, “Let me read you something from Ivan Shmelev.”
I chose the passage where little Vanya [a diminutive form of the name Ivan] thought that the Magi who came to bow down before the newly born Christ were wolves [the word “magi” in Church Slavonic and the Russian word “wolves” are consonant; compare: “volsvi” and “volki”]. And the boy imagined how on that frosty night everybody was going to the Infant Christ, guided by the star of Bethlehem, including wolves—such kind, kind wolves were going with their tails between their legs. For, on this day wolves cannot be savage: everything is beaming and glowing with love and goodness—Christ, God incarnate, has been born on Earth. I think hardly anybody described the Nativity better than Shmelev—his narrative contains the fragrance of childhood, the interweaving of fairly tale and reality; and the main thing is that the living Christ is present there. Spellbound, fearing to break the silence of God’s presence, we were sitting and quietly smiling at the Nativity.
On the same day Irochka was supposed to go to the village to see her grandmother. Tickets had been bought beforehand, so the girl hurried lest she should be late. But only much later did I learn of the rest. Ira travelled on bus for some three hours. She was to change in the Bolshaya Murta village; and from it there it was thirty more kilometers (18.64 miles) to her granny’s village. But the bus did not come. “Shall I go back?” But then why in the world did she have to start this journey? “Shall I go on foot?” Ira had already walked long distances on many occasions and she resolved to go through the woods and fields.
And how beautiful it was there: the woods became tranquil and serene in the snowy grace of the Nativity, the huge disc of the sun above the field had already set behind tops of trees, all around it was white and scintillating with gold, pouring out its quiet rapture at the Birth of the Infant Christ… Wolves’ tracks, which intersected the path and disappeared in the wood, were the only thing that scared the girl. And it dawned on Ira: “At Christmas all wolves are kind!” So, moved by the all-encompassing and all-penetrating love of God Who was born on Earth, Ira walked the whole thirty kilometers quite easily, all resplendent with her inner light.
Fortunately, our Ira was not eaten by wolves, like Little Red Riding Hood from the famous folk tale [also known as “Red Cap” in Russia: the main character of an ancient European fairy tale; the best known adaptations of it were written by Charles Perrault and Brothers Grimm]. On the contrary: The living, healthy and rejoicing granddaughter appeared to her old folks right on the feast of Nativity! When the girl, weary yet triumphant and cheerful, entered the well-heated cozy house, a local radio program was playing the very same excerpt from Shmelev that we had been reading with great pleasure before her departure. Ivan Sergeyevich Shmelev inspired Ira with so much heroism and courage, with so much “love, beauty and holiness!”
Servant of God Ioanna, Milan
“On Christmas Eve I met my future husband”
Transformations in my life began with the feast of Nativity of Christ. Several years ago I dated a young man and hoped to marry him. But with time our relations became strained because of absolutely different views of our future life. However, I tried to accept the situation and struggle for our relationship. I hoped that something would change and mutual understanding would finally be reached.
But I was mistaken. So I decided to break off our relations. At that period I suffered much, seeing all my hopes and plans being thwarted and dreams frustrated. At the same time I unexpectedly developed a growing tumor. At the hospital they told me that I should have seen the doctor before and now I had to have an operation. I was shocked.
The following months were devoted to tests and doctors’ visits nonstop. The doctors suspected that I might have cancer but, glory to God, the situation settled down. I was successfully operated and the postsurgical tests were good. That illness was gone and it carried away my anguish of mind with itself. I acquired peace of mind.
A month passed after the operation. The feast of Nativity was coming. The Lord provided that on Christmas Eve I met my future husband. Our acquaintance and communication began when we greeted each other on the Nativity.
We found peace, accord and joy in each other. My husband and I thank God for our miraculous meeting, for the help, consolation and happiness He gives us every day. The Lord brought us into the Orthodox Church. My husband who had been baptized in Catholicism was converted to Orthodoxy and we married in Church. We are very happy and hope that the Lord will give us strength to battle with sins, multiplying our faith, hope and love!
Servant of God Tamara
“It seemed as if our plane sank into a cotton cloud”
I celebrated the New Year 2005 in Spain, and my return flight was late in the evening of January 6. I did not notice that it was Christmas night. Then I was a Muslim but I knew about Jesus Christ.
The passenger who was sitting next to me on the plane took some wine and said: “To the Nativity of Christ!” Only then did I remember that it was not a usual night. The stewardesses turned off the light and all the passengers fell began to doze. I was looking out of the window and thinking of my lonely life (I was already fifty years old).
And at the same time it seemed as if our plane sank into a cotton cloud. As if something gently and warmly embraced our aircraft, so that peace and joy began to reign in my soul! It was such bliss! And I realized that I would start a new, different life. And that is precisely what happened.
I made the decision to be baptized in the Orthodox Church, and I finally did it in spite of numerous obstacles. I also realized the sinfulness of extramarital relations and, after fervent prayers to the Mother of God, I met a reliable man and we married.
I believe all these events are connected with that Christmas night on the airplane, when the Lord Himself answered my silent entreaties!
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, shone upon the world with the light of knowledge: for thereby they that adored the stars were taught by a star to worship Thee, the Sun of righteousness, and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high: O Lord, glory be to Thee.
Happy Nativity of Christ to everybody!