As I write this, snow is on the ground and the sun is shining bright. The ground is pretty much covered, though it did not snow as much as the weather station had predicted.
As Deborah and I drove around the countryside, we could see sunlight reflecting from individual snowflakes. The temperature at ground level had not yet risen enough to melt the flakes, making them indistinguishable from other flakes.
The sparkling light of the flakes brought me back to a time in 1957 when a great blizzard covered our farm in western Oklahoma with enough snow that we could walk over the tops of our chicken barns. The snow sparkled for almost a week before melting in the early spring thaw.
It was a magnificent time of exploration for me and my siblings. We dug into the drifts and made caves and tunnels. We walked on wind swept snowdrifts that soared into the air.
Today, I still marvel at the beauty of a snow flake, even though its arrival comes upon the wings of a weather system that brings wind, freezing rain and sleet. It?s dazzling presence reflects so much light that the naked eye has difficulty seeing it without some sort of eye protection.
This, to me, is a metaphor for God?s purity, love and righteousness. It is a symbol of his beauty and grace, that he desires to shower us with forgiveness of our sin. It is an invitation to walk into and live within the light, and begin a relationship with him.
I do not think it strange that as we celebrate Christ?s birth in a little Judean town of Bethlehem, that elements of nature continually proclaim the nature of God. It is, however, increasingly strange how humanity struggles with it and tries to redefine the Christmas story and create just another holiday for us to celebrate during the winter season.
The commercial version of the Christmas holiday begins as soon as the Thanks?giving holiday ends. Perhaps the primary redeeming quality of this endeavor is the festive look around the cities. Holiday lights come on, making even the most dreary place to come alive.
The downtown Plaza in Kansas City looks beautiful at night. On a recent trip through eastern Nebraska and north-central Kansas, I observed nearly a dozen of individual light displays that rivaled the gaudy display highlighted in the movie, ?National Lampoon?s Christmas Vacation.?
Unfortunately, I could not enjoy them very much, thanks in part to the approaching weather system that was dropping freezing rain and sleet at the time.
It has been said that the Christmas holiday can be the most depressing time of year for some people. I can relate to that. When everyone around you seems to be in a festive mood, expressing holiday cheer, celebrating with friends and associates, and they all seem to be so happy at the time. Yet you cannot find the energy nor the desire to be happy and to participate in the yuletide activities.
Perhaps a spouse has passed on. Perhaps a recent divorce has taken the wind out of your sails. Perhaps your alimony support is no longer coming in, or an adult child’s finances have taken a turn for the worse as their marriage comes apart, forcing you to spread your wings a little further to share your meager income with a growing household.
Or a middle-aged person just lost his or her job, due to ?downsizing? in the company that took 20-plus years of hard work, with only a gold watch as a gift noting the passage of time and a brief note of thanks?and job prospects on the horizon are slim to none, and the only jobs available are flipping burgers at minimum wages.
What good is ?Christmas cheer? when these things happen? It only focuses the attention on us, so everyone can see the disparity between us and them, and it deepens one?s sense of despair.
True joy and peace does not come from the external display that one sees during the holidays. It never will.
The message of Christ?mas is that a Savior is born. He is called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. He has come into this world to redeem us, to save us from our sins, and he is inviting us to share in all of the goodness that heaven is.