And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in headcloth, Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” ~ John 11:44, NLT

In the neonatal intensive care unit at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital during Christmas week, I watch a baby boy battle for his life. His eyes are closed, but he isn’t asleep.

When he was born, his mother cut the umbilical cord. Then she brutally attacked him and left him for dead by a cold bathroom window. The hypothermia caused by the cold and the blood loss slowed his heart rate and, ironically, maybe saved his life. Someone came in to use the bathroom and heard a whimper.

His birth announcement was a crime report in the newspaper.

The veteran physicians who are treating the stabbed newborn are devastated at an occasion for joy turned to unspeakable evil and suffering, but around the clock they keep their work of healing.

The third night of care, one of the physicians text-pages me, “I don’t even know what to pray for.”

“I do,” I page back. “This is all or nothing for this child. If our Father in heaven anywhere in the world tonight sees one of His children who is torn and bleeding at the moment of birth by an act of unspeakable evil, I believe He would want that child in our neonatal intensive care unit with the skills and faith of our caregivers. I take that the baby is with us as a sign from God, and I pray to Him for the child’s healing and life.”

The child lives, whole of body and mind, thriving in a loving adoptive family. The hearts of the surgeons, physicians, nurses, technicians, and even lawyers, who prayed and cared for him are also renewed.

We serve a risen Savior. He is present. He lives in our hearts. It is He who raises the Lazaruses among us from the tombs of their futility but leaves it to us to unbind them from the wrappings of their bondage and to help them go healed and free.

This is the real Christmas story, and we who serve here at Loma Linda University and around the world in continuing the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ are able to live it everyday. Let’s be thankful in this season of celebration for the blessings of Christ’s love and our opportunities of service to minister to others in the liberating, restoring power of redeeming grace.

Kent  A. Hansen is general counselor for LLUAHSC. He received his JD degree from Williamette University at Salem, Oregon, in1979.