Monday, December 22, 2008
After a few back to back snow storms and hectic trips to the mall, the feeling of Christmas has finally begun to stir in the air. I can remember being a child and it seemed that the warmth of Christmas cheer took root in my heart already the day after Thanksgiving. That's when mom began to dust off the glittering decorations and I found myself so eager to hang my ornaments on the tree, help her arrange the Chrstmas village and start to bake some of our favorite treats. I know that my kids look forward to the traditions I've begun in our family as well, but somehow between basketball games, volleyball practices, and bringing every one here and there to spend time with friends, it seems some of the wonder has been lost. This weekend however we got to experience a wonderful Christmas celbration that I'm sure will be one we commit to fuzzy memory as one of our "best ever". The gifts were all a hit, but that wasn't the reason. The weather provided the whitest of Christmases, but that wasn't the reason either. The music filtered through the house, mingling with the scent of hot apple cider, but even as it combined with the glittering tree and sparkling lights - it wasn't enough. Being snowed in together for two days on the farm cut our family off from all of those activities that otherwise pull us away from eachother. There were no plans made with friends from town. There were no practices, games, or concerts. It was just us. Saturday morning as the snow began to fall, before the wind swept it into waves across the oceans of fields that surround us, I stepped outside clad in warm boots and cozy mittens. I took a tiny stroll through my own personal winter wonderland. It's really amazing what the snow does to sound. It's like pulling a door closed on all of the various sounds of creation, save one, the gentle percussion of softly falling snow. It's like being wrapped up in silence. I smiled as the flakes melted against my cheek, as if they were tipping up my chin to help me hear the good news. "You get them all to yourselves this weekend." And as I pulled my boots from my chilly toes and shut myself and my family up inside the warmth of our home, the wind began to howl, but it did not threaten. We spent the weekend just being. We played some cards. We baked some goodies together. We smoked a turkey and ate it by flickering candle light. We watched movies and shared new downloaded music. For two entire days we were all together, huddled happily under the blanket of blustery snow.I admit that the natives eventually did become restless, and once or twice I lost my temper trying to make the new gizmos and gadgets go. The turkey wasn't done in time for the side dishes and so we ended up baking it till it was a bit dry.... but what are Christmas memories with out a little reality added to the mix.My heart was full as we sat down to our Christmas meal, and as we read about the gifts of the Magi from the account in Matthew this year, I could hardly contain how happy I was to receive this gift from God. Not only salvation, though that's the best gift of all, but the gift of life and life abundant. It amazes me that God didn't stop with just saving my life, He also wanted it to be good. Sometimes I don't know what good looks like. And I get that. But this weekend good looked really great to me. I am so thankful this Christmas for that amazing and powerful present. Happy Birthday Jesus. And thank you for the wonderful gift!