O Holy Night


Winter Park is an incredibly charming community, complete with brick-lined streets and quirky intersections. However, the Amazon driver who mistook the railroad track for a road no doubt does not possess such charmed thoughts. Last week about 6:00 pm I drove-up on a bizarre situation.

Arriving at the railroad intersection, I noticed a van on the railroad tracks when the driver in front of me put his hazard lights on and jumped out of his car to go help. This prompted me to do the same. When I reached the driver she was pacing around her van panicked and somewhat incoherent. What could be deciphered was her fear-filled concern about her boss’ reaction. She was completely oblivious to everything else. Even the other helper was focused on getting her van unstuck. It finally occurred to me we needed another plan, and I said “Folks, we need to call the police because sometime soon a train will be coming.” While straddling the railroad I dialed 911 and as soon as I finished, I looked up straight into the headlight of an oncoming train.

Communicating with the 911 operator became nearly impossible as the railroad crossing bells had started going off and the train’s horn was blowing continuously. Then I began to hear that blood-curdling noise of steel on steel that sliced through the darkness, as the train slammed on its brakes.

I moved into the street to better hear the 911 operator, but I noticed that the Amazon driver was not really moving away from her van. I yelled back for them to move, and finally the other guy grabbed the driver and ushered her out of harm’s way. That piercing noise of the train’s brakes had not stopped nor had the train, which made me think a collision was inevitable causing a major catastrophe. The 911 operator was now telling me that the police were on their way, and I could see blue lights moving towards us. Brakes were still screeching, but on that night, the noise was the sweet sound of grace. As the train entered the light of the intersection, prayers were answered. The train comes to a complete stop a few yards shy of the van. God had been incredibly merciful.

As I drove away there were so many thoughts that ran through my mind. God’s grace was all over this situation even down to the type of train involved. It was a commuter train, it was able to stop much more quickly than a multi-car Amtrak train. The outcome could have been very different. I am confident that Amazon driver never anticipated being nearly hit by a train when she began her route that day. There were any number of other things that were dominating my thoughts, but the lasting impression I came away with the fact that all three of us—the Amazon driver, the Good Samaritan that stopped first, and even me—were slow in comprehending the gravity of the situation. The driver was dazed and concerned about her boss and the first guy to respond was fixated on getting the van unstuck, and I was distracted by both the driver and getting the van moved. We simply were focusing on the wrong things, and it is only by God’s grace did I finally regain my own bearings.

How alike we all are to the players in that near-catastrophic incident the other night! Non-believers live life oblivious to the reality of their impending doom if they do not know Christ. And Christians can at times major on the here and now causing them to lose sight of what is truly important and necessary in life. Whether you are a Christian or not, affirm today your faith in the only One who can save you from your sins. Christmas is a wonderful time to consider the Lord’s goodness and choose again or the first time to follow Him with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.

One of my favorite hymns is O Holy Night. Below are the time-tested lyrics to this profound song of Christ’s arrival in our fallen world. Linger over these words and allow the significance of our Savior’s birth to resonate in your hearts:

O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

‘Til He appears and the soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born

O night, O Holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming

With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand

So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming

Here come the Wise Men from Orient land

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger

In all our trials born to be our friend

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger

Behold your King; before Him lowly bend

Behold your King; before Him lowly bend

Truly He taught us to love one another;

His law is love and His Gospel is Peace

Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother

And in His name, all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we

Let all within us Praise His Holy name

Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!

His power and glory evermore proclaim

His power and glory evermore proclaim

Merry, Merry Christmas!!!

Crosland Stuart, of Crosland & Company, LLC, works with The Collaborative

on vocational guilds and content creation. Additionally, she also works in the areas of

foundation consulting, communications, and is a literary agent.


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