By: Jessika Sanders
Our Christmas in the NICU
At home, our halls were decked. The tree was trimmed. Empty stockings were hung, ready to be filled. Packages were wrapped and placed neatly under the tree. Ingredients for baking cookies sat prepped in the pantry. And new Christmas pajamas were washed and waiting to be worn by all.
But instead of spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the comfort of our home as a new family of five, my husband and I sat in a hospital room with nothing but a few articles of clothing, deodorant, and a Bible. Our hearts were heavy and completely overwhelmed by our circumstances. We were spending Christmas in the NICU with our son.
It felt like the rest of the world was celebrating while we were grieving. Then the kindness of a stranger entered our room, and a simple gift changed our whole day. I didn’t know it then, but that single act of kindness actually changed our lives.
The Impact of an Act of Kindness
Ezra was our third child. And because our finances were a little tight, we intentionally scaled back on many of our wants to instead focus on our needs. As I unclicked Sophie the Giraffe from our baby registry, my heart winced a little. This silicone teether was one I had purchased for our two other children. A part of me wanted to continue the tradition for our son. But alas, financial responsibility. “It is just a teether,” I told myself. “It isn’t a big deal.”
So that Christmas in the NICU I was humbled and brought to tears when a nurse popped her head into our room and quietly placed a box on the table. “Merry Christmas,” she whispered. And to my astonishment, that box held a Sophie the Giraffe. God had used a complete stranger to give me the desire of my heart in something as simple as an overpriced teether. At that moment I not only felt seen by God, but I felt loved and cared for by Him, too. The delivery of that giraffe delivered the hope of Christ into our hospital room.
The impact of this act of kindness ministered so greatly to my heart then and continues to do so even now, that I want to extend a special invitation to you this Christmas to participate in our Second Annual Praying Through ministries Christmas in the NICU/PICU Book Drive.
2nd Annual Praying Through ministries Christmas in the NICU/PICU Book Drive
Continuing the tradition, this Christmas season we will be collecting books to deliver to NICUs and PICUs across the United States. Our goal is to deliver the hope of Christ to families in this dark season through the gift of a book, allowing for a sense of normalcy and the closeness storytime provides.
This year we've chosen The Spirit of Christmas by bestselling author Nancy Tillman. We hope this story brings peace and joy into NICUs and PICUs this Christmas season.
This year we're hoping to surpass last year's efforts of 767 books collected and distributed to 16 states. But we can’t do this alone. We are asking people like you to consider helping us deliver hope through our annual book drive. Starting November 8 and running through November 12, you can purchase 1 or multiple copies of The Spirit of Christmas and choose from a list of participating cities where your outreach goes.
Will you consider joining us in delivering hope this holiday season?
Head on over to www.prayingthroughministries.org/christmas to make a difference this Christmas.
Jessika Sanders is a published writer who has been featured in Proverbs 31 Ministries’Hope When Your Heart is Heavy devotional (2021), Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Jr. magazine (2022), and Tyndale’s So God Made a Mother (2023). She is also the coauthor of The Good Book Company's Little Ones to Him Belong (2024). You can also find her work here on the Praying Through blog and on her blog Jessika Sanders, Writer. Jessika is also the founder and acting president of Praying Through ministries.