Monday, December 28, 2009

the story of a Christmas snow

It doesn't snow in Dallas. It shouldn't snow in Dallas. But somehow, on Christmas Eve, it did. It began in the morning as a steady, chilling rain, the kind that gets inside your skin and rattles your bones. I was walking around with families at a mission center close to home and wondering at how much we all have progressed with scientific innovation and such yet still an ordinary thing such as the weather can simply make life miserable. Families standing out in the cold rain. There isn't a whole lot more miserable than that.

At first when the rain turned to snow, nothing stuck. The ground was having nothing to do with the snow, melting it before it had a chance to make a home for itself. The resistance kept up through the afternoon. Ground versus snow. As the wind picked up and the flakes turned into a flurry, the ground still stubbornly refused to house the snow. With the setting of the sun, however, the ground lost its greatest ally.

It was so peculiar and so mesmerizing to behold the elements from the other side of the window at my house. With the wind howling fiercely and the tree branches shaking violently in response, there was a kind of coziness that you feel only when you stand safely behind a window watching such a spectacle. And a kind of awe, as well.

When the sun drifted away and the darkness began to set in, the ground finally began to acquiesce to the persistence of the snow. It was like watching someone grudgingly decide to do something. The snow took to the ground, slowly layering itself. The dark ground magically transformed into white.

It was like a great picture, a reminder, if you will, of the force of redemption. Here we have the holidays, the old Christmas Story you and I have heard a hundred times, and it becomes harder and harder to enter into the remembrance of the baby Savior Jesus that this holiday is all about. The story keeps persistently trying to make a home for itself in my heart, but I stubbornly refuse to let it have its way with me. It's easier to just let myself become distracted by everything else going on.

But when I finally relent, an amazing transformation begins to take place. The Story has won out. It takes my own story, simple as it is, and redresses it in a new garment, giving it new purpose and beauty.

It doesn't snow in Dallas. But redemption still finds a way to come to us in the strangest of places.

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