A Christmas Family

A Christmas Family

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

A Christmas Family

To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke 1:79

One Christmas as a single mom, I was left at home without my children for several days. I had family close by, and had spent time with them and with my aging parents. Still, I felt a nagging loneliness because my children were not there to share the joys of the day. It’s a feeling I imagine is shared by all parents who have experienced this situation at Christmas.

I had decided late that evening to visit an old friend and her husband; I had not seen them for a while, and I knew they were having some health problems. I felt the visit would occupy my time and help fill the empty space.

I enjoyed a nice visit with them, and was feeling very glad that I had gone. As I was returning home, the fog had settled thickly on the roads and orchards, and it was difficult to see my way with the car headlights on. I turned the main headlights off, and with only my parking lights to alert other drivers to my presence, I drove very slowly along the quiet country lane. Eventually I was forced to stop—the fog was so thick that I couldn’t see at all. I was feeling really boxed in, so I left the parking lights on and got out of my car. The thick white clouds floating near, through and around me created both an eerie and a beautiful sight.

Suddenly I saw a blur of movement near a light pole. I thought it was a deer walking up the road in front of a small group of homes. I moved toward the lamppost and, as I came closer, I saw a trail of deer—probably ten or more—that were walking slowly together. They seemed to be in pairs, and were winding slowly in a chain between the houses and yards. It was a magical experience on this lonely Christmas night as I watched and followed them through the neighborhood. It was as if they were Santa’s reindeer, who had dropped off the old guy and were making their way home, exhausted at the end of a busy day.

I was filled with a sense of peace and well-being. All was not lost after all. I had seen firsthand the reality of a family unit, drifting through the fog and haze, making their footprints in the snow as they traveled through this sacred night of Christ’s birth. I knew that the Lord was watching over me and understood my loss that day. He knew that I had needed that vision to ground me to the realities and possibilities of my life—and that He understood the difficult road I was taking in my journey to get home.

Diane Moss

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