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God's love at Christmas time

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By Ken Begley

“The Lord is with you.”

The Angel Gabriel speaking to Mary

The quote you see above was said by the Angel Gabriel to Mary announcing the coming of Jesus Christ. Mary was about to conceive a child without ever knowing man. God knew, as good a woman as Mary was, she would still need his help, his divine protection, for the road that was ahead of her.

Divine protection.

Frequently, we are all given it, and most of the time we know when it has happened. Just don’t ever forget it when you receive it. Don’t be embarrassed to tell others where it comes from.

Here’s a story that happened last week to my family.

I had a couple of vacation days left to take in December and decided to take one when we woke up to the snow and ice everywhere last week. It seemed to be a good day to stay at home. School was closed. I spent the morning helping my eldest with some scholarships she’s attempting to get for college next fall.

Brenda, my 15-year- old, needed to get to work at 3 p.m. at Parkview IGA. It’s just up the road from us. So about three hours earlier I bundled up and started shoveling the driveway off. It was covered with about a half an inch of ice. Will came out and helped me when I tired of the task. We watched the grader come by and plow the road that afternoon. Later a salt truck came by as well. A lot of traffic was beginning to come down the road.

We finished at about 2:30 p.m. and the driveway looked great.

It was about 2:50 p.m. and I was pulling on my jacket to drive Brenda to work.

Brenda watched me and said, “You don’t have to go, Daddy. Renee will drop me off on the way.”

I totally forgot that Renee also needed to get to work down at the law office where she clerks part-time after school.

“That’s great,” I said as I pulled off my jacket.

Sometimes it’s really convenient when your kids learn to drive.

They were off, laughing and talking as I watched them pull from the garage in our large, extended white minivan.

No more than five minutes later, Cindy got a call on her cell phone.

I glanced at her and could see the color drain from her face as she shouted into the phone, “Are you OK? Are you hurt? Where are you?”

“What?” I yelled back at Cindy as she tried to finish talking to whoever was on the phone.

Cindy snapped the cell phone shut and said, “The girls have had a wreck right up the road.”

We live about a quarter of a mile from Parkview IGA on Lincoln Park Road.

I assumed it was just a little fender bender.

Cindy and I jumped into our other van and traveled no more than a few hundred feet toward Springfield. We were at the top of a small hill which curves down through a tiny bridge.

We looked with disbelief as we saw the minivan completely upside down. One wheel was completely torn off. The roof looked like a giant had karate chopped it in the center. The front and side windows were broken out.

It had skidded on a patch of ice going down the small hill in the curve. The right wheels slid off the side of the road. It had a front glancing blow off the passenger’s side against the guardrails on the bridge abutment. This shoved the van sideways and it started to roll from the passenger’s side, landing upside down. The airbags didn’t deploy.

Renee and Brenda had both been wearing seat belts and were hanging upside down in the van with crushed glass all around.

Both were panicked and shaken from the accident. Renee had honked the horn for help, but no one was there to hear.

Brenda struggled and managed to get out of her seat belt. Renee remained stuck and was feeling all the blood rushing to her head.

Brenda yelled to Renee that she was going for help. But Renee didn’t want her to leave and together they managed to free her from the car.

We saw them on the road by the car when we arrived, talking to Pat Clements’ wife Rita, who stopped to help them.

The van was totaled.

Brenda and Renee were shaken and sore the next day, but came away without a scratch or broken bone. Amazing.

You might say, “Those seat belts did the trick.”

They did.

But I also wanted to say that Christmas came early this year to our house.

God protected our children from serious and brutal harm in a sudden, violent accident. This protection came out of divine mercy.

I don’t know why this isn’t always the case in every accident.

I don’t know why it happened this time.

I can only say we are deeply thankful.

He is a good and mighty God.

The Lord is with us all!

Merry Christmas.