Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snow at Christmas

Just a few minutes ago I looked out my window here at the office and got very excited.  "It's snowing!" I called out, to no one in particular.  It looks like it will just be a few snow flurries, but it did my heart good to see it. 

There is no snow here, to speak of.  It is December 21st, and this is Minnesota, and by all rights, there should be snow.  When people from my neck of the woods do a word association about Christmas, one of the top five words would be "snow."  Most of us are dreaming of a white Christmas here.  Though a few of us are happy that we don't have the slippery roads and shovelling associated with a white Christmas, there does seem as well to be a certain sense of disclocation.  Where are we?  What time is it? 

A Christmas tree salesman told us once that when the snow is late in coming the tree sales are slow, too.  We have labelled "snow" as one of the 'signs of the times' and there is some lack of urgency, perhaps.  Some people say they have a hard time getting into the 'Christmas spirit' without snow. 

But why is that?  In a real sense, Christmas doesn't have anything to do with snow.  It's not mentioned once in Luke, Chapter 2, nor in John, chapter 1.  There are lots of places where Christmas comes without snow. 

Maybe it's just a look I've gotten really used to, in my many years living up here.  On this darkest and longest of nights, I have gotten used to looking out into the darkness and seeing something white.  It's not the glow of a candle, but it sparkles and glistens.  The light shines in the darkness. 

Snow is one of the places I have come to look for light.  But there are plenty of other places to look for light, maybe truer places ( who can say?)  I just read the story of the local food drive that three Lutheran churches held.  Three truckloads of food were donated, but one of the truck drivers turned out to be a thief, driving off with 1,500 pounds of food which was meant to give away.  This happened on Monday.

Today I heard that these three churches have received more than enough food to make up for their loss.

The light shines in the darkness.

On Wednesdays in Advent, people from our congregation have been coming together for a short evening service.  At the close of each worship service, we sing a version of the table prayer to the tune of "Tallis Canon."  We have been singing it in canon, a capella.  Last Wednesday there were four parts.  It was beautiful, those bare voices singing.

The light shines in the darkness.

After the church service last Sunday, one man came up to me and pushed a few bills into my hand.  "I didn't get a bonus this year," he said, "but I still want to help someone in our congregation."  A little while later, I heard a woman telling a young African-American girl that she was beautiful.  A little while later, I looked into the sanctuary and saw several people working together decorating the church for Christmas eve.   One word, "Emmanuel" hangs above the pulpit in glittery letters.

The light shines in the darkness. 

Even when there is no snow.

1 comment:

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

thanks be to god!

blessings to you this christmas...
may the light continue to shine in even the most unexpected places.