HolyCoast: A Christmas Eve Story
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A Christmas Eve Story

Do you think there are still angels among us? Read on.

It was Christmas morning, 1994, and I was sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper when my wife Anne came in. She had tears in her eyes, and when I asked what was wrong, she said “I have to tell you something about last night. You probably won’t believe me”. With that intriguing introduction, she began to tell me about our family’s encounter with angels the night before.

On Christmas Eve we had driven about 100 miles from our home to my wife’s parent’s home in Santa Paula. Anne’s sister’s family was out from Michigan, and the whole clan had a wonderful day of eating, fellowshipping, and gift giving. Although the atmosphere inside the house was warm and cheerful, outside a large winter storm was moving in with the promise of significant rainfall.

By about 3pm the rain had started and the storm seemed to get stronger with each passing hour. By 7pm we decided that we had better get on the road if we were going to make it home before Santa arrived (our 6 and 3 year-old kids were very worried about that).

Leaving Santa Paula we headed out onto the canyon highway in heavy rain with occasional brilliant lightning flashes. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the driving conditions really frightened my wife. I’m a good driver and I wasn’t too worried about guiding our aging minivan through the torrent, but she was really scared. As we headed south on Interstate 5 in very heavy rain, she began to pray silently that the Lord would provide protection for us on our journey.

She told me later that she immediately could feel the presence of four protecting angels. More importantly, though she didn’t look at them directly, she could see them out of the corner of her eyes silently flying along at the four corners of our van. The rain and wind was beating at them, but they maintained their position like celestial Secret Service agents. I was concentrating on my driving and was totally oblivious to our heavenly guardians.

During the next hour and a half we saw no less than four overturned cars and a couple of other accidents caused by the heavy rains. A couple of times we hit large patches of standing water that caused the van to begin hydroplaning, but each time I was able to regain control without anything more than a bad scare. Even scarier were the occasions when another car splashed water across our windshield momentarily destroying our vision.

As the trip progressed Anne said she began to sense that the angel at the right rear of our van seemed to be struggling as though he was carrying a significant weight. The other angels didn’t seem to be having the same problem. Out of the corner of her eye she could see him straining to hang on.

Our harrowing journey was nearly over as we reached our offramp in Mission Viejo. Finally feeling safe, Anne breathed a silent thanks to the angels and released them to their next assignment. She said it was as though a flight of butterflies had soared aloft as the angels departed in a flurry of wings.

As we turned from the offramp onto the main street near our home, I noticed that the van was handling very funny. It seemed to be very loose in the back, and I suspected we had a problem with one of the tires. We pulled into the garage and I got out and walked around to the right rear. There to my surprise was a completely flat tire – not just low on air, completely flat. There was no major puncture in the tire, but a small leak had apparently caused it to go down over a period of time. Due to the small size of the hole, the lead had probably started many miles away from our home.

As Anne related her story to me the next day, I realized that the struggling angel had been straining to hold up our van while the tire slowly went flat. He had kept the van level and under control despite the lack of air in that tire. No wonder he had such a hard time during the long drive.

Had we been stuck out in that storm with a flat tire, there’s no telling how long we would have waited for help. With so many accidents and problems on the highways, we could have been there for hours. We’ve been members of AAA for many years and have often used them to come to our aid when our cars have had problems. This time, I’m thankful that we had AAAA – four angels – to do the job when we most needed it.

I’m sure holding up a tired old minivan is a pretty unexciting assignment for angels who two thousand years ago spend the first Christmas morning heralding the birth of the Son of God, but I’m sure glad they were there.
If you haven't figured it out yet, I wrote that story, and yes, it's true. It happened to us on a stormy night in 1994. I submitted that story to Guideposts Magazine, and after they rewrote it (and frankly in my opinion butchered it), it ran in the Jan/Feb 1996 edition of Angels on Earth, a subsidiary publication of Guideposts. I decided to run the original version here rather than the doctored up Guideposts version.

There was one other incident during our drive that night that I forgot to put in the write-up, which I did several months later. At one point during the heaviest of the rain a car to my right swerved toward us. We missed him, but I commented afterward that I didn't know how we kept from colliding. Anne told me later the angel on the right front of the car actually pushed the swerving car away. Of course, I didn't see it happen, but I believe it.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope you're heavenly guardians are always on watch.

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