All of these stories got me thinking about what Christmas miracles I may have experienced. The first one that comes to mind is Christmas 1990.
Nick was four years old, Val only eight months. I was still married to my first husband and we had driven to Colorado to spend Christmas with his parents. Some time in the afternoon on New Year's Day we started the twenty hour drive back home. My husband's plan was to drive straight through; we had done it before and thought we would do it again, even though the forecast was for a winter storm over the Plain States.
Sure enough, just before midnight, ice descended across Nebraska and brought us to a crawl. All along the freeway, other cars had pulled to the side of the road to wait out the storm. As our Ford Tempo slid along the highway, I begged my husband to pull over also.
"What would we do then? We can't sit here all night," he answered.
I gestured to the parked vehicles. "They seem to think it is better to wait til morning and a salt truck."
He kept going, with the driver side tires just off of the asphalt and into the gravel for traction. All I could do was pray and keep checking the kids, sound asleep in the backseat. At one point, the car did slide off of the road. Somehow, with me now manning the stick shift and steering wheel, their father was able to push the two-door back unto the road.
After many hours and only a few miles, an exit sign appeared in the headlights. "Please can we pull off and find a hotel?"
"We can't afford it," he growled.
"We can't afford not to," I answered.
He eased the car off of the freeway and down the exit ramp, where the car slid over a curb.
"Are you happy now? That probably damaged the car."
"I don't care, just pull into that Holiday Inn."
It was 3:30 am by the time we got up to our room, each with a sleeping child in our arms. This was years before cell phones, so I called my mom in Wisconsin from the phone in our room.
"I am so sorry to wake you up, but we are in a hotel room near Omaha. I suppose you heard about the storm."
She hadn't been sleeping after all, she had heard about the ice storm and had been worried sick about us. God had been with us, I assured her. We would be home safe and sound sometime the next day.
Miracle? Some may say not. But we made it safely to that hotel and safely home the next day. The Tempo didn't suffer any damage from running over the curb. Whatever you call it, God had been with us.