Our family laughed together inside our Honda, parked on the shoulder of a busy highway, excited and freaked out all at the same time. We had just experienced an angelic encounter in the snow, and on Christmas Day to boot!
During my daughter’s childhood, I often sang a lullaby to her at bedtime which included the phrase “guardian angels all around you.” Over time we latched onto the phrase, “angels all around you,” whenever we parted from one another. Specific Bible verses and personal stories from others, firmly fixed our minds on the concept that unseen guardians from God are all around us.
I’d heard many stories about face time with members of the heavenly host that seem to occur on highways and deserted roads with people in trouble. They rescue folk from burning cars or mysteriously get dead cars running again only to disappear when people look to thank them. In fact, I used to question the validity of some of them until that Christmas Day in 1980 something.
Ken, Jennifer and I were traveling home from a lovely holiday at his parent’s. In West Michigan, we experience a unique weather pattern called “lake effect snow.” It means that if you live close to the lake, as Ken’s parents did, a simple snow system can turn into a blizzard simply from the extra boost of moisture it consumes while it crosses the lake from Wisconsin to Michigan. Lake effect showers can be sudden, intense and blinding. Part way home that night, we found ourselves in a near white out.
Ken struggled to find the highway in the blinding snow. We dared not pull over for fear we would not be seen by other disoriented drivers. Tense with fear we wondered if we were on the highway or the shoulder. Within minutes we discovered Ken miscalculated as we slid partly into a ditch.
Foolishly we had removed the winter boots and heavy clothing we keep in our trunks for such occasions, early that morning. Mounds of Christmas presents and food needed the space. Now we stood outside in dress coats and shoes attempting to dig ourselves out and get back on the highway. Neither of us had a hat either. We hadn’t wanted to wear them and mess up our hair for Christmas pictures, don’t ya know. I tied my dress scarf around my ears to shelter them a bit.
Frantically, Ken dug with our car shovel while I brushed the wet accumulated snow off the back window as a lone car almost swerved into us. Jennifer sat alone inside, terrified. I secretly wondered if Ken would be able to push the car out alone while I steered. My mind felt as numb as my face and ears did contemplating horrible possibilities. Just as he finished enough digging to try pushing, a man walked up behind us and said in a normal voice, “Looks like you folks are in some trouble.”
The man’s voice alone should have been a tip-off that something supernatural was unfolding. Ken and I shouted at each other to be heard outside over the wind. This man spoke in a normal tone yet we both clearly heard him. He looked like a body builder and wore only some jeans and a thermal shirt. The heavy snowfall abruptly subsided as I stared at him, wondering how he couldn’t be cold. I climbed into the driver’s side waiting for the “Give it gas,” command from Ken. Wasn’t our first ditch but it was one of the scariest.
The unusual man convinced Ken to climb back into the car also, assuring us he’d be able to push us himself. I quickly slid to the passenger side and Ken started the car. In a swift and sudden movement, we were firmly back onto the shoulder in a particularly wide area. We both looked around to wave at our rescuer before we returned to the driving lane.
No one was there. In the now clear, starry night, we could see that there were no parked cars anywhere. No houselights twinkled in the nearby fields and the couple cars that passed us clearly came from further down the highway. Crazy gratitude filled us while we loudly belted Christmas carols with angels in them the rest of the way home.
At Christmas, we often think and sing about the prominent role angels played in the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth. Other Scriptures explain their role on earth. In Psalms 119 :11-12 David speaks of them as protectors. “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands, they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”
In Hebrews 1:14 we are told, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Clearly, God uses them to accomplish tasks in human lives. In Revelations 5 John reveals his vision of tens of thousands of angels worshipping the Lamb on the throne. When we join in with heaven’s angelic worship we become part of a supernatural partnership of praise with these mighty guardian servants.
So I say to during this season when emotions can run high and low, angels all aroundyou. For truly, they are.