I woke yesterday morning to what I thought was the sound of a black bear cleaning out my garbage can but when I pulled back the drapes in my bedroom to take a look, what I saw took my breath away. Snow had fallen overnight and already there was an accumulation of several inches. It was one of those beautiful snows that coats every leaf, branch and wire in dazzling white and transforms cars and roadways into mere accessories in a Mother Nature painting.
No one expected this storm. Least of all the National Weather Service that first predicted a 40% chance of precipitation and then changed their forecast to less than an inch of accumulation (probably after some forecaster took a smoke break and realized it was already snowing outside). By the time it ended, we had 9 and ½ inches.
The bank closed early and the grocery was a mob scene of people buying milk, bread, sleds, and propane. The storm caught everyone off guard and threw most of us into survival mode. Some people really enjoy survival mode. They’re the ones who show up at the grocery with a loaded pistol in the front seat in case some mother of six gets to the milk before they do.
As for me, I needed this snow. My to-do list was longer than my arm and I only had two out of the twenty odd presents I plan to give for Christmas wrapped and under the tree. I was in a near panic over the things left undone. What is it about the holidays that makes time seem so short and the life requirements greater than usual. No wonder some people just take a two week cruise. The frenzy is unbelievable.
This unexpected snowstorm gave us all permission to STOP. It kept us from doing much of anything or going anywhere. All the activities were cancelled, no one could make it out anyway. As the snow collected on top of the fence and rose to 4, 5, 6, 8 and then 9 inches I plugged in my Christmas tree and just sat still. The world had grown so quiet that I could hear the gentle rise and fall of my little dog Pip’s breath as he snuggled beside me. (He gave up on going anywhere when the snow drifts were taller than he was).
A holy silence fell upon us all just when we needed it the most. Just when we were all about to forget that God is the reason for the season, the wild winds of the Spirit blew up a snowstorm, the biggest in years, and pushed the pause button in our hearts.
Reflecting on all this by the warmth of a fire, I have come to think that God’s message that arrived all wrapped in white is this: I don’t need you to do anything, I just want you to be still and lay your heart against mine. Your heart, beating against mine, is the reason for the season sweet child of mine.