The Warners are a typical family, with the usual rifts and arguments. Each year, they leave home on Christmas Day to spend the holiday week in a time-share condominium in Breckenridge, Colorado. The early-teenaged children, Tim and Julie, are opposed to the idea, preferring to stay home back in Boulder with Xmas gifts and friends, but their workaholic father insists that they spend the rare family time together. However, he is inevitably called back to his demanding business each year and is not even there for the Christmas holiday.
Then, on one Christmas, Tim surprises his sister, taking her on an impromptu horseback ride to a mountaintop. There, he shows her an amazing and inspiring display of lights on a distant peak, a scene of mysterious origin that can only be viewed from that one spot and precisely at dusk on Christmas Day.
The next year, their father is too busy to even make the trip to the Rocky Mountain condo for Christmas. Even so, the kids can’t wait to take their mother on the yuletide horseback ride up the mountain so they can show her the beautiful light show. She, too, is inspired, and when they return home, she tries once more to convince her husband to put his priorities in the right place, to return to church and spend more time with the family. However, by the next holiday, their marriage is over and so are the rides to the mountain for the Warner family.
Tim blames his mother for the breakup of the family and, when he eventually goes away to college, he ends all communication with her. Julie finally takes a Christmas journey of her own, a drive to the West Coast to convince her brother to renew the spirit they found together on that Colorado mountain peak with its mysterious light display.
He does return home, and, at the same time, their father has his own epiphany. The next Christmas, the parents renew their vows, remarrying on the mountain just as the lights seem to be burning their brightest for the reunited family.
But then a tragic turn brings the two siblings even closer, and a special Christmas gift makes certain their bond will never be dissolved, not by distance, hurt, or even death. A final view of the lights on the mountaintop confirms that the love of a family is the strongest tie of all. And a strange but wondrous twist shows Julie Warner the true meaning of those lights they saw on their rides to the Christmas mountain.
This powerful story will resonate with today’s busy families, too involved with their own distractions to experience the beauty of this special season, and offer special meaning to those who have lost someone and miss them most during the holidays. The lesson of those magical lights—that one must be in the right place and have an open heart to know the true meaning of Christmas—will touch readers everywhere.