A Christmas Carol

Jack - Great Falls, Virginia
Entered on September 15, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Seemingly insignificant things shape our lives. Here’s a perfect example: Christmas music saved my life last year. Yes, my personal obsession with all things wintry, including gaudy evergreen trees, managed to accomplish something other than irritating my siblings. While driving home last December after singing in a Christmas concert, snow began to fall in earnest. I couldn’t see the road farther than three feet in front of the car and was shocked to see a deer galloping into the hood of my Toyota.

The frosty Christmas stag cracked both of the front headlights with his five-point antlers. Plunged into darkness but only a few miles from my house – yet still on the highway and just thirty minutes till curfew – I acted upon the first impulse that came to mind. The windows went down, and I blasted Clay Aiken’s “The First Noel.” The music lifted the veil of panic from me and cleared my mind. Then, stalling alone in the piling snow, I started to contemplate the inconceivable; how was I so calm?

It shocked me that I wasn’t panicking. It also shocked me how quickly a merry yuletide car ride could take a turn for the worse. One second the car was a toasty sanctuary from the cold, the next it was under attack from woodland creatures. Things just don’t like to stay the way they should be. Change can’t be halted. It would have been nigh impossible to avoid that deer. Now I had to make due with what was at hand. But I had nothing on hand, per se. My car was damaged and Mother Nature was unleashing her fury upon the world.

Abruptly the song changed to Tevin Campbell’s “O Holy Night” and inspiration struck. The answer had been in my ears the entire time – Faith. Belief was the internal impetus I needed. The Catholicism to which I cling in times of desperation can never leave me. I realized that belief in a cause, religion, or morality is the key to security in the face of disaster, and my religion has always been an invaluable stabilizing factor in my life. I just tend to forget about the Lord Almighty whenever I am not in trouble.

God was, however, ready to assist me in the blizzard on that desolate winter highway. He must have been guiding me, because during that thought I lurched on to my very own driveway. Somehow I’d successfully reached sanctuary.

Ultimately, what should have been a leisurely drive home turned into my own Christmas rebirth. Wildlife-induced trauma coupled with the Christmas music of favorite artists allowed me to take one of the most harrowing moments of my angst-y teen years and turn it into a learning experience. In the season when the world is asleep, awaiting the spring, I awoke inside to recognize the everlasting gift that I carry with me every day: faith.