And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
It was cold, really cold, and the snow was deep. Yet we were determined to make it for Christmas. It was, in fact, just two days before Christmas, and we were getting ready to head north to Muskrat Dam, Ontario, my wife Linda’s home community and a place we also minister, 10 hours north of our home in Sioux Lookout. Much of this trip would be on ice and snow roads where at times you are hours from any village.
Rarely is the winter ice road frozen solid enough for vehicles to travel on before Christmas. But the weather had been so cold in this particular year that the road was finished early. We had a good four-wheel drive pick up truck, so we felt we were good to go.
I have heard many interesting stories about special things happening around Christmas. You may call them miracles. Wartime stories of opposing armies laying down their weapons, crossing lines, and celebrating Christmas with the enemy. This isn't quite the same situation, and I don't know exactly how to describe this particular winter road Christmas trip, but it looked like a miracle to me. God put me face to face with an old friend with whom I had been struggling to reconnect and reconcile.
Groceries are expensive in this fly-in community and only during the winter can you drive into Muskrat using the ice roads, so we were determined to load the truck to the very brim with goodies and essentials for our friends and relatives. The wind was howling, the snow was swirling, and it was blistering cold as we tried tying the flapping tarp around our many goods in the bed of the truck. It was the last store to get any provisions.
Our hands were freezing, and we were having trouble securing the load in the wind when a voice called out from a newly arrived truck. It was my old Cree friend, Lee! He asked if we were ok and gave us some excellent tips on how to keep the load secure on the sometimes very rocky, icy, winter road. I was shocked at his kindness. He then offered to keep an eye out for us as he, too, was making the ten-hour trip north just behind us. I could tell we were connecting again and that God had a hand in it. I hadn’t seen him for a very long time and had been wondering how I could reconnect with him. And there he was! Only God could have brought us together at one of the most isolated stops on the trip.
It was a rough ride and, though I hadn’t mentioned it to my co-driver, I wondered a number of times if we were in fact on the right trail. But, eventually, we saw lights in the distance and shortly after my old Cree friend pulled up behind us, making sure everything was ok. I remember, we all got out of our trucks and looked up into the incredible night winter sky. The forty below air was clear now and the stars twinkled, beautiful and bright. Here we were standing face to face in the middle of nowhere. I was sensing God calling me to renew our friendship, whatever the cost. And, of course, God was already making it happen.
For me, it was a Christmas miracle.
You may not be driving on an actual winter road this Advent season but you may be on your own rough road. Why not pray for a Christmas miracle? If God can incarnate Himself into a tiny baby, He can perform miracles in your life, too, no matter what you are going through.
Dear Lord, Thank you for working in our lives in miraculous ways even today. Lord, thank you for the miracle of Christ’s birth and help us see that your power is still at work for us. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Rick Martin, Manitoba, Canada