That Christmas I Prayed to Get Sick
I have no idea why this is the first story that comes to mind when I think about Christmas memories of yore. I mean, you’d think I’d be more inclined to talk about the annual Christmas Eve candlelight service my family always attends. Or fun and cozy gatherings with people I love. Or classic Christmas movies.
Or at least the year I got a Cabbage Patch Big Wheel. Which was like the hugest dream come true in my life up to that point.
But no, whenever I get the “What’s your favorite Christmas memory?” question, I inevitably start thinking about…puke.
I know. Gross. But here’s the story:
One Christmas when I was eleven or twelve, my youngest sister got really sick. She’s ten years younger than me, so she was just a toddler then. She was sick enough that it scared me half to death. I had a big imagination anyway, so watching her struggle set my mind going all kinds of ridiculous directions. And I remember so incredibly clearly, in my fear, praying this prayer:
Pleeeeease, God, help Nicole get better and make me sick instead.
Now, here’s the point when we all take a mental step back and wonder just what I was thinking during that prayer. I mean, why not just pray that she’d get better and keep it at that?
Dunno. For whatever reason, my tween-age brain apparently thought there was more chance of her getting better if the sickness transferred to someone else. So that’s what I prayed.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Within twenty-four hours, Nicole was out of bed, playing and going strong. And I…was throwing up.
But this is what else I remember about that experience: I remember being stuck in bed, an early Christmas present in my lap—a book, of course—with the infamous puke bowl beside me. And I remember feeling so…happy.
Honestly, I remember actually grinning to myself about being sick. Why? Because God had answered my prayer! I was so, SO convinced he’d heard my plea and, with a snap of his fingers, reassigned Nicole’s sickness to me. (In fact, in my happiness I scribbled out a diary entry about the whole thing. I’ve still got the diary to prove it.)
I guess a person could laugh at that. Point out the reality of germs. Or get annoyingly technical and theological and question whether God causes sickness or not.
But in my little girl perspective, he’d simply answered my prayer. He was so real to me in that moment.
I’ve had some “pukey” seasons here and there since then. And I’ve had some amazing answered prayer seasons. I’ve had seasons in which the figurative puke was the answered prayer even if I didn’t realize it at the time.
And I’m so grateful for the reminder God gave me early in life—through a silly prayer and a churning stomach at Christmas-time—that he’s with me in all of it.
Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. She writes romantic comedies in the banter-filled style of her favorite 1930s and 40s classic films. When she's not writing she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.
I'm so excited for this giveaway! Melissa's first book, Made to Last, was actually inspired by Christmas In Connecticut! We've teamed up to bring you this awesome giveaway of her book and the movie! Plus, Melissa is throwing in a copy of her new Christmas novella One Enchanted Christmas. She's pretty great, isn't is? Leave a comment to enter to win!