The climax in Because of Winn-Dixie comes in chapter 24. Opal and the preacher are searching for Winn-Dixie, and the preacher says they have to give up. Opal retorts that this is what he always does and says that he never looked for her mother either.
The preacher replies that there was nothing he could do to prevent Mama leaving and starts crying. Opal hugs the preacher, and he says that even though he thinks Mama will never come back, the two of them have each other. They resume the search for Winn-Dixie together, hand-in-hand. In the following chapter, they find Winn-Dixie, anticlimactically, at Gloria's house.
The climax emphasizes one of the central themes of the book: family relationships. Opal refers to and thinks of her father as "the preacher," as though his job is more important than his relationship with her. The preacher loves his daughter but has neglected her, and this is the scene in which he reconnects with her and affirms that she is central to his life.