Merry Christmas from Me to You ~Tanya Hanson


img_3620Dear Santa, this is my favoritest image of you, praying by the Manger.


It reminds me that I must thank you, and God too, for giving me what I want most year after year–Christmas with my family, which this year, includes my new granddaughter. Oh, and thanks for my new release, Christmas Lights—I dedicated it to her.


But I digress. There was one Christmas, some thirty years ago, where I almost didn’t get to keep what I asked for—my newborn daughter. Yes, you remember her? She had been born strong and healthy and nine pounds two weeks before…

Before bacterial meningitis stomped in and almost claimed her life on that dreadful December 21. Our white picket fence-perfect life, with a two-year-old son and new baby girl, spun hideously out of control. It was Christmastime, yet here we were, in the same hospital where she had been born. Wearing scrubs, washed down with Betadine. Sobbing, shocked…staggering through a neonatal intensive care unit.

….Spinal tap? I can’t even remember my birthday while I struggle to sign the form.

Tears, strangling pain. What’s happening? Neonatal nurses, who are angels from heaven, tell me it’s okay to cry. They cry, tooTheir strong but soft hands around me, hold me up.

My husband, my hero–his strength seeps into me as he chokes back his own tears and fears.

Finally our wise and wonderful pediatrician sits us down. “You need to be with your little boy now,” she says.

My backbone turns to ice first. “Will he…?”

“No. This strain is not contagious.” (Small mercies.) “But it’s Christmastime, and he needs you, too.”

So we split time, taking our little guy to see Santa. Helping him hang his stocking—as well as his newborn sister’s. Trying to answer his baby-talk question about where his baby is…

Praying endlessly. Shuddering in dread every time the phone rings.

Once, it’s Uncle Ted calling. My heart hammers horribly until I hear his voice—no caller ID in those days. He’s a pharmacist. I feel a little better: the antibiotic protocol your doctor has prescribed for little Christine is cutting edge.

Still…there’s a little red velvet Christmas dress from her Uncle Mike that can’t be worn inside an incubator. No holiday bonnet for a little head stuck with IV lines. 

She’s so strong, the doctor tells us on December 22. But this is very serious. If she survives, be prepared for deafness, blindness. Seizures. Crippling. Mental deficits.…the ugly list goes on and on.

It’s okay, honey, I reassure my husband when I can form words. I’m a teacher. I’ll teach her everything she needs to know….

They allow Christi out of her heated, enclosed crib to nurse. We have to be careful of all the tubes and wires. There’s even a rocking chair for me. At home I try to feel like a new mommy, pumping milk and freezing it to take to her. The bottles are so tiny.

Santa, do you remember? Early on December 23, you’re finishing the last toy when the doctor calls us, after morning rounds. “Mrs. Hanson, your baby will survive for sure, but, remember….” Pause. Warning. Panic. Of course we don’t forget the possibility of all those bad things.

Why do I want to go hide in the footwell of the desk in the living room?

December 24: Santa, you’re ready to hit the skies, and we are leaving for church. Sometimes, there’s nothing left but God.

The phone rings as we pick up the car keys. It’s the head of neonatal pediatrics.

Terror, my heart starts to die… then joy to our little world.

“Your baby will live,” says Dr. Miller. I can hear his smile. “We’ve tested everything. She is fine and perfect in every single way. Have a merry Christmas.”

Oh, yes. I knew then for sure, and I knew it later. Perfect vision, honor roll. Homecoming princess, gifted pianist, star athlete, cum laude at university…And I know it now: The Lord lives.

And the Lord loves.

One year later...
One year later…



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31 thoughts on “Merry Christmas from Me to You ~Tanya Hanson”

  1. Oh my Tanya. Thank you for sharing. I’m sitting here crying at what you went through with your precious baby girl. Praise God for His healing touch. I’m sure He has had His hand on her life all this time.

    Cindy W.

    • Hi Debra, in ways, it was hard to look back and put it all in words. She is truly our miracle, and now with her own baby girl…so many dreams come true! Thanks for stopping by, and merry Christmas.

  2. Certainly, a Christmas never to be forgotten, Tanya, thank you for sharing your amazing story. God is with us and he answers prayers.

    • Hi Melanie, thanks for your kind words. I remember thinking I’d never be able to celebrate Christmas again if she didn’t make it. Whew. I remember telling God if He let her live, I’d never ask Him for anything again. Right–I’m on my knees every day. God does know best, for sure. Merry Christmas!

  3. I can’t even imagine what you went through. But I have two friends who are nurses who work in the NEONTL and you are right they are angels. Thanks for reminding us what the true meaning of Christmas really is. God Bless your family

    • Hi Kathleen, yes, what hearts those nurses have. I still treasure their kindness. The Lord truly blessed us then and does every day since. May your Christmas be filled with love and blessings. I so appreciate you stopping in today.

  4. How horrifying and frightening! I’m so glad your little one grew up healthy and gave you precious grandangels even and that Tim survived his cancer scare. Wishing you the most joyous of Christmases, sweet friend! xo

    • Dora, I do feel greedy sometimes. I’m pretty needy. Thank you fir being there for me during our recent needful times. It’s going to be a beautiful Christmas again. Love to you and Ernie…xo

    • PamT, thanks so much for stopping by at such a busy time. The Lord sure was good to us then and a jillion times since. Christmas blessings to you and your family! Bandera soon?? xoxo

  5. Wow, what a heart wrenchingly beautiful story. So happy it was a happy ending and your daughter is so accomplished!

    • Thanks, Susan. Her brother is pretty cool too…we are very blessed. I was just down on my knees those terrible days. But in times like that you do find strength you never knew you had. Like the doctor said, we still had our little boy to tend, and Christmas joy to spread out. God blss you and your family at this wonderful time…and thanks for the post today.

  6. Oh, Tanya!
    What a terrifying experience. I can’t imagine the pain of uncertainty.
    I’m so glad that all these years later we can be together and surrounded by so much love!

    • HI Kaz, I must admit, it flares its ugly head more at this time of year, although the joy was/is exquisite, too. I am so glad you are in our lives now xo. Thanks for posting.

  7. Oh, Tanya…what terror and heartbreak you endured! I felt it myself as I read your letter. And I felt the overwhelming joy when God (as He always does) came out victorious, delivering your perfect, beautiful baby back into your arms. Thank you for sharing your story — what a wonderful testimony!

    • Hi Delia, yes, it was such a time of terror, no matter how tight I grabbed onto God. Fortunately His peace and healing came quick for our little one, and for us too. Those first days of waiting were absolutely horrific. She spent the next six weeks in NICO so the antiobiotics could run their course, but we always felt such happiness even with her nursery empty. Thanks so much for replying, my dear friend. xo

  8. A true story with true blessings. Thank God all turned out well and thank you for sharing it, Tanya.

    As an odd coincidence, I had meningitis–just before Christmas, but I was old enough to understand what was happening, and how distraught my own mother was. I came out okay except that I had severe migraines for a year after, and still occasional ones now.

    Has anyone ever noticed that besides the many blessings of Christmas, odd things, maybe tests?, show up at that time of year too? I lost my mom a year ago on Christmas Eve, and my father died many years ago right after Christmas. Besides Christmas, it makes me think of the winter solstice with its shortest day and longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. Oh well… enough of that.

    Holiday blessings to you and yours, Tanya, and all of this board.

    • Eliza, I am so glad you are healed as well. Wow, what a coincidence. And you are not the first person I know to mention that, how “things” seem to happen at this time of year. I was a baby and don’t remember him, but my grandfather died in a car accident just before Christmas. My gram never recovered. Interesting thought. May God bless you with a happy new year and blessed Christmas. I

  9. What a terrible time for you. Sometimes hoping and praying is all we can do. It makes us feel so helpless. So wonderful when things turn out so well.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year.

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