During this season over the last thirty years, I have often thought of how God directly intervened in our family’s annual Christmas trip to my children’s maternal grandmother. I dreaded this time of the year. To me, it was an aggravation as we traveled some 400 miles one way. I would load up the car with all of our Christmas gifts so we could share the festivities with our elderly loved one. She of course, had many gifts to give her only four grandchildren. The car was overloaded with the combined gifts on our return trip. Once home, it became a chore to keep the toys from being strewed around the house. The next year became worse as more toys were brought home.
In Christmas 1981, I was enlightened by the protection of an angel sent by God. That night as usual we left our home after supper on Christmas Eve. We had a station wagon which allowed the rest of the family to sleep on an air mattress as we travelled from Dover, De. to Rocky Mount, NC. My seventeen year-old son sat in the passenger seat while the rest of the family occupied the back. There was a place on Rt. 301 South where we customarily stopped to refuel, take a potty break and/or refresh ourselves. This particular night, we used the newly built highway, I-95 which ran parallel with 301. When we got to our usual stop, I-95 at that point was linked to 301 with a connecting road like an intersection on 301. I drove over 301 to enter the area.
As we got back into the car, I asked my son if he would like to drive the rest of the way. He thought this was his Christmas present. As he drove out of the parking area, he turned on the first paved area he came to which was 301. I told him not to be concerned as there would be a place down the road to get back on I 95. We had driven for about ten minutes when I saw a silver stop sign shaking violently ahead of us on a road approaching from the right. I started screaming, STOP, STOP! My son slammed on the brakes bringing the car to a screeching halt at the edge of the unmarked intersection.
He asked, what’s the matter? I said I don’t know. Everything was completely dark. There were no lights on the highway whatsoever. No warning signs at all. I pointed to where I had seen the stop sign. Nothing was in sight. Thinking I couldn’t see it because of the darkness, I began walking toward where I had seen the STOP sign. There was nothing. There was not even a breeze to have shaken the sign if it were there. Then I heard my son calling to me. As I began walking back to the car, it dawned on me that stop signs are red, not silver.
When I got back into the car, my son pointed in the direction we had been travelling. Less than a hundred feet from us, the road was blocked by construction equipment, a bulldozer, a steamroller and other equipment. After I regained my composure, I asked my son if he realized what happened. He said no. I told him that incident was a direct intervention from heaven; otherwise all of us would probably have been killed.
As I marveled over the incident in the days that followed, I had a profound change of attitude about Christmas. I looked forward to future Christmases. The years went by with the annual trip south to grandma’s for Christmas until all our children had left home.
Often I remember a saying I had seen from an ad of Rock of Ages that contained the saying, “How dear to me are the scenes of my childhood when fond recollection presents them to view”. How blessed we were, how blessed I am, how wonderful were those times at Christmas with grandma at her home.
Years later, our family including my grandchildren had an opportunity to revisit the house where we shared many Christmases as a family.
We decided on the spur of the moment to go by grandma’s old house on our way back from Disney World. The suggestion came from our son who was driving that fateful night many years before. The old house looked the same. As we all piled out of the car, a spirit of reverence came over each of us separately as we found out later. No one talked until we got back into the car. All of us had the same feeling of gratefulness for sharing in the love from grandma and the memory of the miracle of the Angel of Christmas who saved our lives to enjoy sharing one another’s love every Christmas thereafter.