Good will toward man
It’s the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas songs are already playing everywhere. You know, such songs as “l’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “All I Want for Christmas,” “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” These great classics always get me into the Christmas mood.
But getting into the mood of Christmas is one thing, what does a body do to get fired up into the action of the season? Only thirty days until Christmas and I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping or baking or thought about decorating the house! Where do I begin?
I’m in a panic! Oh, me, oh my, so many decisions! Geeze, Louise — I feel a migraine headache coming on. Maybe I better take a nap and sleep on it. So, I did exactly that and this is what happened.
I fell into a very deep sleep and imagined myself sitting in a little car with the motor running. Where was I and why couldn’t I see out the car windows? And for heavens sake, why was I holding this tiny baby?
As I peered at the child a little more closely, I realized that I was holding my own baby daughter, Anne Jo. How could this be? Anne Jo is all grown up with children of her own. But here she was sleeping in my arms and I could actually hear her breathing. Hm?
I woke from my nap with a start and felt a cold wet tongue frantically licking me. I must have been talking or moaning in my sleep and alerted our Tootie dog’s alarm system. For here she was on top of my chest licking me, breathing into my face and trying to wake me up.
Thank goodness for her actions because she woke me from this dream and relieved my mind. I was no longer in that little car with the motor running; but instead, I found myself safe and sound in my very own living room. And, there was no baby in my arms; just an anxious puppy dog who needed a potty break.
But dream or not, it set me to thinking about a true-to-life Christmas experience of many years ago when I was a young mother. That was the year when all I wanted was to get home for Christmas.
Snowbound in Nebraska
The time was December 1968. Our young army family was stationed in El Paso, Texas, far from the South Dakota prairies. Orders for Vietnam had recently come down, which meant pack up and leave for home pronto.
We left El Paso knowing that there had already been significant snow storms back home, but we were tough farm kids and a little snow wasn’t going to deter us from traveling. All went well the first day on the road and we pulled into a motel for a good night’s rest. The next morning found us faced with a roaring storm outside our motel. What to do?
We waited for a while and listened to the weather forecast. The storm was reported to be letting up so we proceeded on our journey. The roads conditions proved to be not too bad until we reached the Nebraska state line and then things got a bit testy.
The highways were very icy and the winds were picking up again and we began to wonder if maybe we should have stayed at that motel. As luck would have it, we didn’t have to wonder long about our traveling decision. For, we soon found ourselves in the middle of a major blizzard storm complete with howling winds and a blinding snowfall that just wouldn’t quit. Why hadn’t we stayed longer at the motel? And now what should we do?
There was no place to turn around on the highway and head back to the safe confines of the motel, so we kept creeping along trying to stay on the road. And then, without any warning, we felt a jarring thud. We were stuck. A quick review of our situation revealed that we needed some help to get out of this huge snowbank. Again, what to do?
There was only one thing to do—my husband had to go for help. This was the scary part of the whole ordeal because it left me in our little Mustang car alone with a two month old child and two dogs in the back seat. And it left my husband outside alone facing the elements. Uffdah!
Fortunately, we had spotted a yard light of a place not too far from the highway. Maybe he could find some help there. So, tying several cloth diapers around his face, Anne Jo’s daddy headed out for help.
The dogs and I and our baby girl quietly listened to the sounds of our car motor running. And before long, we heard the purring sounds of another familiar motor running.
We were rescued by a kind farmer and his trusty loader tractor. He not only pulled us out of a snowbank, but also pulled us directly into his farm yard and opened the hospitality of his comfy home to us.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord. We were rescued right along with some other twenty weary travelers who all became stranded along this same highway in the same spot on this same day. This generous farm couple and their children fed us, cheered us and put us up for the night. What a wonderful memory.
That Christmas of forty-eight years ago is indeed a wonderful memory and serves as an example of the true Christmas spirit. For this farm family provided all of us with not only a safe, joyful, peaceful haven from the storm, but also generously gave us without ceasing the gift of “good will toward man.” What a blessing.