The television schedules are now starting to fill up with Christmas movies which depict Father Christmas as a kind elderly man who can make 'miracles' and all you have to do is just need believe.
We all know of 'miracle' stories such as surviving a natural disaster or the survival of a terminal illness, or the escape from a life threatening situation. So do we believe in miracles?
A miracle has been described as a supernatural intervention in the life of a person. It has been defined as an event in the physical world that can be evidenced as having happened but that cannot be explained by any known scientific or natural process. However, Thomas Payne, one of the founding fathers of America, wrote: “All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe”.
Is a birth of a much desired child, 'a miracle'? Or now that we understand the natural process of conception and giving birth, is that birth just an event due to the natural process? Ask any mother how she would describe that birth experience!
If a man survives a train crash for example, an expert could think that he survived because of where he was sitting on the train at the time of the crash. Can we think 'that wasn't a miracle; he survived because his time wasn't up yet'? But if someone lives because his time wasn't up, isn't that the same thing as a miracle? Both are a belief in the existence of somethings just out of our control and if we are honest, are we not relieved that not all can be explained?
In other words, whilst we know that there are people out there who will give an explanation for what happened to us or our loved ones, is the truth that we prefer to believe it was a miracle? Is it because that way, we feel more secure, more special that in some way we have been protected by a higher benevolent being?
So do you believe in miracles?