A Night for Miracles

My Silent Night

It’s truly Christmas…and I am not talking about the heavenly smells of a turkey roasting in the oven or tree lights twinkling, or even beautifully wrapped presents under the tree.

It’s truly Christmas because the plans I had for “doing” Christmas can’t happen.

Vermont got hit hard with the winter storm — more than 24 hours have gone by and still no power. The turkey thawing in the fridge will be tossed. The baking I had planned will not happen. The tree lights are off as we can only use a meager bit of electricity with the generator. And my husband has to work, so it is just me and a snoring Bernese Mountain dog puppy at my feet.

So I sit here with the candles lit, eating raw oatmeal and honey (it is actually pretty good!), and while I felt anxious and sad at first, I realized, “God is listening to the desires of your heart: to live off the grid, to live by candlelight, to make do with the provision at hand and not want more. To really live differently than I have been.”

I wonder what Christmas miracles will happen on this holy night?

I’m not talking about the miracle of having the lights back on, but rather what will my heart finally be opened to now that all the trappings of Christmas have been taken away? What will be birthed? What dreams will finally awaken and begin to take form?

Some of you know that after five years of being editor of magazine, my time came to end. News came right before Christmas.

During pondering my what next, my husband offered some thoughts and encouragement. Imagine his surprise (and fear!) as well as mine, when I heard myself say, “I want to live deep in the woods and write about an alternative way to live!” He was skeptical that I could make a living like that. And then the next day, my life was thrown into off the grid living.

So I wonder what this Christmas, which has been filled with so many of life’s challenges (job ending, no electric, and oh, did I mention we didn’t have water the other day in the old well as well!), will bring.

I wonder because, after all, “Silent Night” was composed because a little church’s organ was broken one snowy Christmas night and the faithful had to sing a new song, a new way.

It’s funny how we tend to forget about “Silent Night’s” humble beginnings and have made its singing a sacred cow: If it doesn’t happen with an organ and little candles lit in a church’s sanctuary, we get sad. (I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel, Old Stone Well Farm, as this year, I went into the woods by myself and lit candles on a tree as I listened to “Silent Night.” Go to YouTube@oldstonewellfarm )

I wonder because even before the birth of the beloved Christmas song, there was another song being composed. The song of salvation. The song of hope. The song that makes me know deep in my heart, anything is possible, because that song was a blend of angels’ voices and a baby’s cry. It was God’s love song to us.

Rejoice! Our Savior has been born!

10 thoughts on “A Night for Miracles

  1. Christmas plans have been altered but there is one constant that is always there for you to draw strength from in your challenges. Hope power is restored soon! Hang in there and enjoy your Christmas puppy. Usually cold here for MD. It is 3degrees this morning.


    • Yes, there is always that one constant amid all our changes…God’s love and care for us!!! Power has been restored and I got to cook my turkey and enjoy a nice quiet, simple meal on Christmas. Well, as quiet as it can be with a puppy. I can’t believe how cold the temps are down by you. Wishing you a very blessed Christmas!!!


  2. Merry Christmas and thank you for your message. Hoping you have plenty of firewood and are keeping warm. We have all our faucets dripping in hopes our pipes won’t freeze … a disadvantage of living in a house on stilts. But the sun is shining brightly this morning and the wind is not quite as sharp. Looking forward to seeing what the New Year has in store for us all.
    Grace and peace to you and your family … need another picture of the puppy.


    • Marlene, it is always a joy hearing from you. I am smiling about the faucets dripping to keep the pipes from freezing. I’m smiling because this is why I tell my husband we should live off the grid — we weren’t meant to have plumbing in the house. Of course, I am half joking…but when I think of all the things that can go wrong when there is plumbing and wiring behind our walls…I year for just a log cabin without any of that. I know, I know. There are other challenges that come with off grid living as well. 😉 I pray it warms up for you as well!! And wishing you a very blessed 12 days of Christmas. I will get that puppy picture to you soon!! Blessings, Donna


  3. Donna, I applaud your pluck! And I share your prayers for a hopeful and purpose-filled future. I sit here in a chilly house (it’s up to 9 degrees here at almost noon, and so far the temp inside is 63, up from 58 when I got up… and now I realize you’ve got to be a whole lot colder there in VT.
    I’m praying for your future as well as mine. A blessed Christmas, my friend! Hugs, Lois


  4. Well, that’s a development that you didn’t expect? I have been reading a devotional book called Remarkable Advent by Shanna Letellier. It goes through the stories of each member of the advent narrative and how God used the circumstances they were in to shape them for his will. I think you would like it. You can get it on Amazon. I’ve not been very attentive to the vlogs lately so I missed that your job has come to an end but I also know that it frustrated you so much that although it’s over, it is a leap of faith forward into. new and better life for you! Merry Christmas and May God use this time of stillness and silence to awaken in you a new direction and purpose. And hopefully your poser will be back on soon. We are having the coldest Christmas here in the Carolinas that we’ve had for years. But we still have power and I look forward to our Christmas Eve candlelight service tonite. Once again Merry Christmas and blessings in the New Year!


    • Bobbie, I am going to get that book, as it sounds perfect. Yes, my job coming to an end was sort of expected, but was hoping for the best. Sadly, I learned about it by accident right before Christmas. I will share that story another day. But they want a new voice and are going in a new direction. It happens. The only certainty we have in this life is that God will never abandon us and is always holding us. There is always light on our path. And I can’t believe how cold it is down south. Yikes. And I hope your candlelight service went well. I’m sure it did and I’m sure it was beautiful! Merry Christmas to you!!!! Blessings, Donna


  5. Merry Christmas, Donna. I saved your last two video messages so I could see them to start my day today. First, I did not know that you had resigned your editor’s position at Presbyterians Today. I have enjoyed reading your articles. I know, however, that publishing can be a stressful job. I wish you much success in finding the next chapter in your life. Second, I sure hope that the power has been restored in your home and you plans for today can proceed. And third, thank you for your message from Sophie’s hill. I loved seeing the snow, Fritz, your parents, the candles on the tree, the luminaries and being reminded that darkness will not overcome the light and that there is no reason to be afraid. I like learning about your passion for “living off the grid” and the culture of 18th century and your sharing your life with us. May this day and the coming new year be full of blessings, joy, and peace for you and your family.


    • Nancy, I am so glad you enjoyed the videos and messages! It was a joy to bring them to you. (Although, the day I filmed the candles on the tree, the wind was blowing and kept snuffing them out!) Power has been restored, but I am still hungering to live off the grid. My poor husband. 😉 As for what God has in store for Old Stone Well Farm in 2023, I have no idea. It really is a walk of faith I am on. I am saddened about the magazine job…it was not what I wanted, but the powers to be want a different voice and want to take the magazine in a new direction. Sigh. It hurts as I really enjoyed it, and I really do believe stories of hope, especially among the small churches, need to be told. So I lean into the promises of God and trust the light to shine on the path forward. May you have a blessed Christmastide, and may these 12 days of the Christmas season be filled with beautiful God moments!! I am grateful you have joined me on this journey! Blessings, Donna


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