Intersection of Life and Faith

When You Need a Christmas Miracle

  • Betsy Stowe Author
  • 2018 28 Nov
When You Need a Christmas Miracle

Do you know what it’s like to need a Christmas miracle? 

I do. And to this day that miracle-needing time in our lives became the one Christmas we will never forget. 

Five days before Christmas, my family had no job, no money, and no gifts under our little Christmas tree propped in the corner. Our three children had taken the news “No gifts this year” bravely. They were sad but accepted that this year we would focus on Christ’s humble birth, make little gifts for each other, and bake cookies together. We all agreed that no one would tell anyone outside of our family our plans for a warm, cozy, but bleak holiday. 

Christmas that year was on Saturday. Imagine our surprise when, on the Monday before Christmas, a knock came on our door at dinnertime. Three friends arrived with gifts, which they placed under the small, empty Christmas tree. Back and forth they went, until the floor was piled high with gifts.

“This is going to be the best Christmas ever!” exclaimed our children.

“We have a little something extra,” said one of these friends, handing me an envelope. In it were five movie tickets (we had not been to a movie all year), and a check for $127 dollars. “Just a little extra from your many friends who love you.”

We finished our dinner in wonder, thanking our Savior for a surprise “save!”

Friday morning found us packing the van with clothes, children, a dog and a cat, and three large black garbage bags in which we put our unopened gifts. Up they went with the clothes into the cargo carrier, firmly closed atop the van, and off we went to Southern California to spend Christmas with my parents. 

By 4:00 pm we found ourselves in the carpool lane, stopped due to Friday’s rush hour traffic, horns honking at us. Our annoyed and exhausted response was, “We can’t go any faster than the car in front of us!” At the same moment, the alternator indicator began to fluctuate. We knew that meant trouble, and so my husband made his way across seven lanes of traffic to the right-hand shoulder. 

To our surprise, a woman followed us across and stepped out of her vehicle saying, “You’ve been losing Christmas gifts on the freeway!” Sure enough, the latch on the cargo carrier had broken, and the clothes were there, but not a single gift. We were stunned.

“This is going to be the worst Christmas ever!” moaned our youngest daughter.

We didn’t know what else to do but pray, “Lord, You know what has happened. Please, we need a miracle. Show us what to do.”

Without my husband saying anything, I already knew what he was planning to do. He was going to exit the freeway, cross the bridge and re-enter the freeway to find the gifts. He was then going to put the car in park and grab the gifts… wherever they were. I continued to pray silently and even more desperately, Lord we could spend Christmas in the ER! Please help! We need Your intervention. 

As we were crossing the bridge, the alternator fully died. Losing the steering and braking capacity of the van was frightening. But as God would have it, we coasted safely into a large, empty parking area with a garage and a mechanic at the end of the lot.

My husband propped up the hood of the van and walked, shoulders slumped, to see if the mechanic was still there at 4:30 pm on Friday, December 24. It was unlikely, but there was a chance. Meanwhile the children and I prayed again for help. To our surprise, up pulled a sheriff’s car driven by an officer with the biggest Navy Seal tattoo on his forearm I’d ever seen. “It looks like you’re having trouble. Can I help?”

“We’ve lost all our Christmas presents somewhere on the freeway, and our alternator has gone out,” I responded weakly. Silently I wondered why is it that speaking the trouble seemed to accentuate the problem? It seemed hopeless, made worse by the thought that I would return home to my friends telling them a story of loss upon loss, despite their generosity.

“Well maybe I can help,” the officer replied, at which point my children ran to get my husband, and off they went to try to locate the site of the Christmas gift drop.

The kids and I prayed again, remembering that the meaning of the Hebrew word, Jesus, is “help, deliverance, salvation, and victory.” 

I called my parents, asking them to drive the 45 minutes to pick us up, knowing full well that they too would be stuck in Friday afternoon traffic with thousands of people who just wanted to get home for Christmas. When they arrived, my husband still had not returned. The wait was long, and our tension mounted with the ever-so-slowly passing minutes.

Well after sunset, the men returned, smiles on their faces, and all the Christmas gifts in tact. 

“This really is the best Christmas ever!” we exclaimed, all of us laughing with joy and wonder!

The story unfolded. It had taken the two quite a bit of time to locate the site, but when found, the officer refused to get out and pick up the gifts. Instead he exited the freeway and called in a tag team, which consisted of two other sheriff’s cars. They entered the freeway, lights flashing, zigzagging across seven lanes of traffic bringing it to a full stop. Not surprisingly, the seven lanes of traffic on the other side of the freeway, slowed to watch. We believe they were witnessing a miracle.

The officer retrieved all the gifts, which had dropped close to the center divider, unharmed. Now here we were, all rejoicing together. Our relief and gratitude was overflowing, as we thanked the officer, who had rescued not only our gifts, but our hope, our faith, our hearts, and our Christmas! I think he may have left us as happy as we were!

What about the broken-down car? The alternator was replaced a few days later. The cost? $127! 

As we headed for the best Christmas ever, we thanked God for the miracles. I breathed a sigh of relief, Oh Lord, You have done an amazing thing for us. We asked for a miracle and You gave it to us! You rescued us. Thank you so very much!

God’s response was a whisper in my spirit, and was the best gift of all: I knew you wanted to give good gifts to your children. So I gave them to you, not once, but twice… so that you would know that I am a good and gift-giving God, and that I love you.   

Matthew 7:11 says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” 

Trust your gift-giving God this Christmas. 

Betsy Stowe has been a pastor’s wife, a worship leader, women’s ministry director, and the happy mom of three grown children and six grandchildren. She spends her time helping women and children understand the Bible, and encountering the God who cares enough to help them. She loves a good cup of coffee, a good visit with friends, a brisk walk with her husband and her dog, and a game of tag with her grandchildren. You can reach her with comments about her article at

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Kerkez