The side road I live on is officially snowed in. The school buses are cancelled and while I could get out of the driveway there is no way of getting beyond that point. The sky is gray and the snow is coming down with what seems like a vengeance. Although the tree line is only fifty feet from the window I cannot see it. The power threatens to shut off all my lights and computer. My plans are derailed and I feel a little at loose ends.
There was a time where this would signal a down day both as far as work and spirit goes. Today however I look out my window and know, indeed feel, that God knows where I am and how I am.
The image of Jesus’ birthplace that we have created is that of a wooden stable with snow on the roof. The reality of course is closer to a hewn cave with white pine logs, however we are more comfortable with our own imagined images. Perhaps we can hear the crunch of the snow under foot and the path growing wider in the snow as each visitor arrived.
Whatever image we have we know that Jesus was born in poverty and that can disturb me because of course, my saviour deserves so much more. I can feel the snow on my shoulders as I approach the stable I can see the lights increasing as more and more people arrive. I can feel the heat from the stable on my face and later all around me as I am able to view the Christ Child. I can smell the moist air and feel the love around me as everyone there quietly celebrates the most wondrous gift ever offered anyone.
Slowly almost imperceptibly I realize my spirit has been raised. I feel there is more going on in this day than overpowering nature. Sometimes the snow slows and I can see the tree line and shadows beyond. Sometimes it just does not matter how strongly the snow falls I am in a place where the love of God and God’s son mellows all.
Good advice has been given lately around the celebration of Christmas where a thoughtful gift could be offered as opposed to more and more gifts. A place we could all get to and enjoy where the most important gift, our Saviour, would be celebrated instead of pushed to the back of our minds by opulence.
God is love. I believe this as surely as I believe anything. If God is love then my enjoyment of His love and the love around me can be the greatest gift at Christmas or any other time.
I believe that love comes when we can see the inner light of an individual, indeed when we are trusted enough to be shown that light by another individual. In my imagining of seeing the Christ child on that first Christmas night, has Jesus so bright I cannot describe him. Suffice to say I can feel the ground beneath my knees and tears on my face as I understand who he is and what I owe him.
A gift is given, I feel, with no thought of thanks only the joy with which your thoughtfulness is received. I believe God may have had this in mind. The joy of knowing that because of Jesus’ very existence, life, and sacrifice, the day will come when we will leave all material things behind, all Christmas gifts save one, and travel to a place we cannot imagine.
While nothing has changed it seems a brighter day. The tree line comes and goes and offers glimpses of a path I had not thought of or seen earlier. While the fire needs stoking going outside seems less a burden just now as I can still feel the warmth of the stable.
May everyone hold the Christ Child in their arms this Christmas, sheltering the blessed Little One with your love and feeling the greatest joy knowing how He loves you and you love Him in return.