Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Gift

Our courtyard was blanketed with snow in the early morning hours today. It was magical. A gift. Before the arrival of footprints and bike tracks to trample the snow, it was pure, white, untouched, perfect...

As I settled on the couch to read and reflect in a peaceful time of silence, I smiled inside with a secret that I couldn't wait to share with my family. I reentered the kitchen several times to drink in the beauty of the snow while I refilled my mug of tea.

Charly was the first to arise, and hear the news. His eyebrows lifted, and he went to see. "Wow!"

A little while later, Joshua entered and I shared the news with him. His eyebrows lifted just like his Dad's, as he too went to check out the snow from the kitchen. He didn't return right away, so I knew he had gone into Jordan's room. She stumbled across the living room after him (only half awake) so they could both wake up CJ. He was not as eager to get out of bed, but Joshua and Jordan managed to talk him into a snowball fight. The kids have learned that you have to enjoy the snow early here because it does not take long to turn black!

While I watched the kids playing in the snow, something caught my eye down by the trash cans. It looked like a message...

In English letters: LOVE
(the E is already a bit stamped out, but I think you can see it)

I marveled over where the message had come from. When our kids returned home for breakfast, they confirmed that it was not them. A mystery.

I thought back to yesterday afternoon, when just as I entered Home World, the first verse of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" was playing and I passed a row full of stuffed Santa Claus and glittery Christmas decorations. The beautiful music of the real meaning of Christmas seemed so out of place in that commercialized setting. And I wondered if anyone in the store understood the words of the song or if anyone cared. It was to this kind of world that Jesus came. To those who were not looking for Him.

How fitting this morning to see the message in the snow beside the trash cans. It is the message that I long for our trash collector to know as I watch him fill up his wheelbarrow full of trash countless times throughout the day. He was the only one out in the courtyard, long before the sun came up, when I first discovered the snow. I think of him as like the common shepherds who were honored to be the first to hear of the birth of Jesus (from the announcement of angels!).

And Jesus himself came into this world as a helpless baby, amidst the smell of animals. He completely entered into our humanity, in the most humble kind of conditions we can imagine.

And it was one of our neighbors who stamped out the message in the snow. It was a message for me. For our neighbors. For the world. I'm almost sure it must have been a child, with some kind of understanding of what that message means and its connection with the snow and with Christmas. The reason Jesus came was to bring His LOVE to the world.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

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