A Christmas Miracle

A Christmas Miracle
Vol: 123 Issue: 23 Friday, December 23, 2011

Two years ago on Christmas Eve Tracey Hermanstorfer died during childbirth in Colorado.  It was tragic.  But it happens.  That’s just how it is.

Death during childbirth is rare; it is estimated to claim less than a million lives globally, but it is not unheard of. 

When the body dies, it automatically shuts down non-essential operations first as a last-ditch effort to preserve the blood supply for the critical organs, sort of like a drowning man trying to grab that last breath as he slips below the surface.

When a pregnant woman dies, the first non-essential to be cut off is the womb.  So When Tracey died, doctors turned their attention from Tracey to the baby, which they removed by C-section.  

Tracey had been dead for almost five minutes by the time little Coltyn was delivered.  Sadly, the little boy was also dead.

Dr. Stephanie Martin was called in to do the emergency C-section.  She said the baby was born limp and completely lifeless.  

“She was dead,” Dr. Martin told reporters. “She had no heartbeat, no breathing, no blood pressure. She was as gray as her sweatsuit and there were no signs of life.”

Her husband was in the delivery room when his wife died.  “I was holding her hand when we realized she was gone,” Mike Hermanstorfer said.  “My entire life just rolled out.”

Doctors and nurses began CPR in an attempt to restart her heart.  Mike Hermanstorfer recalls a doctor telling him:

“We have been unable to revive her and we’re going to take your son out.”

The doctors later handed him the lifeless body of his infant son.  As Mike Hermanstorfer held his son in his hands, he felt the baby move.  

At precisely the same time, his mother, dead for more than 8 minutes, suddenly drew a breath and came back to life. 

“My legs went out from under me,” her husband said. “I had everything in the world taken from me and then, suddenly, everything given to me. It was the hand of God.”

Doctors at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said there was no logical explanation for the recovery of the mother or her baby.  Mike Hermanstorfer thinks the explanation is obvious.  

“We are both believers,” he said.  “But this right here, even to an non-believer, you explain to me how this happened.” 

It was a miracle. 


The thing about miracles that fascinates us is trying to figure out why they occurred.  Sometimes miracles happen in order to send a message to mankind.

Sometimes they happen because God is God and He can do miracles if He wants to. 

I doubt this would qualify as a miracle in the eyes of the Vatican — there would have to be a saint or a prospective saint involved somewhere.

This wasn’t a religious miracle.  This was just the plain vanilla kind of real miracle — the kind where God does something wonderful because He loves His children.  

Instead of seeking some deep, profound truth about the last days or whether this is a signal of some kind, I prefer to think of it as a warm hug from the Father.   Like a reassuring wink and a smile aimed at me personally as the chaos of judgment prepares to unfold.

“Things will get bad, but don’t lose faith.  I am still on My Throne.  Here, let Me show you Who holds the keys to life and death.”

I am sure that to Mike Hermanstorfer, this was a personal and miraculous gift from God, but this was not a private, secret event between God and the Hermanstorfers.

It was an open, joyous, glorious miracle of love performed by God alone on the most joyous holiday of the Christian calendar.  

Doctors couldn’t revive them.  Tracey was past the point of revival.  

When all hope was gone, the Lord breathed the breath of life into them both simultaneously and gave them — and the rest of the world — a Christmas miracle without any strings attached. 

It’s been a long, painful and dismal decade.  We don’t know what the new decade will bring, but barring a miracle, we can be pretty sure it will be something awful. 

It’s good to be reminded miracles still happen.  The Christmas miracle was just what the Great Physician ordered.  

And I really, really needed that Christmas miracle.  Thank You, Abba. 

Member’s Note:  Today’s OL is a retread from 2009.  I chose it for a reason.  God still does miracles, although they don’t all turn out as happily as this one did. 

A long-time OL member (and my oldest and best friend going back to when we were both Marines at Cherry Point in 1974) emailed me last month to give me the bad news that doctors had found a large mass on his wife’s lung.

The mass had spread throughout her system and was inoperable.  The cancer was very aggressive and she was not expected to live more than a year or so.  She was facing a long, lingering and painful death. 

My friend told me he had prayed that if the Lord didn’t heal her, then he prayed the Lord would take her quickly and without pain. 

On Monday, less than a month after the mass was discovered and while they were going over their Christmas list, his wife coughed once, rupturing a main artery in her lung.  She bled out and died in his arms in under two minutes.  

He told me she didn’t see it coming and probably never knew what hit her.  He said he was certain there was no pain.

So it was something of a Christmas miracle of another sort.  My buddy is praising God for His mercy in taking her quickly, despite the devastation of his sudden and unexpected loss.

In his fifties and crippled by disease himself, and with no insurance of any kind, no job,  not knowing how he’ll finance her funeral, suddenly left totally alone over Christmas, and yet he is praising God for sparing his beloved wife the pain of a lingering death. 

I’m not sure which inspired me more; his strength or his faith.  

Please pray for my friend, for financial mercies as he struggles with the funeral expenses, and that the Lord will grant him peace as he copes with his loss over this Christmas season.  I won’t name him publicly — I know he would prefer to keep his grief private — but the Lord knows who he is. 

And if you feel the Lord’s leading to help out with her funeral expenses, drop me an email and we’ll work it out together. 

“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Finally, as we prepare for Christmas this year, husbands, love your wives.  Wives, love your husbands.  And God bless us, every one. 

This entry was posted in Briefings by Pete Garcia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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