It’s long past midnight and the baby has been born. As I settle into Christmas Day during the quiet of the night, I am watching it snow outside my living room window. I know. A white Christmas has nothing to do with welcoming the Christ child. But for this southern girl, I can only remember one other white Christmas in my adult life. It’s special. We sing about it and long for it (in the south) knowing every year it’s a long shot.
Feeling the exhaustion of one of the most important seasons of the church (even during COVID) brings a “good” kind of tired with it. And before the time with family and presents and food and naps can begin, I always have to transition from the theological and physical work of the church to a place of rest. It’s interesting to me in a year that has delivered blow after blow and during a season of my ministry that has been personally draining, this happens. A small little thing that causes me to stay up late, sit in the peace and quiet of the parsonage, listening to all of the strange creaks and moans that the house makes trying to keep us warm in this bitter cold snap, while I watch it snow.
And in that moment, I think of Mary. After all is said and done, the excitement of the moment has transpired, the animals have settled back down, Joseph is taking a cat nap, and even baby Jesus is resting contently in her arms, I imagine her sitting there in the quiet. Listening to the sounds of the barn, unfamiliar to her, but maybe the sound of sleeping animals is comforting. A sense of not being alone. The peace and quiet that is probably balm to her weary spirit settles upon her. No more shepherds or angels or curious residents at the inn. Just Mary, her family and her prayers, maybe the sound of some snoring animals and some extra special light from the bright star in the sky. I imagine she was doing some more “pondering in her heart” the events of the past few hours and months.
As I ponder a few things in my heart, I am filled with a deep sense of peace. This is much appreciated because the roller coaster that has been 2020 has not seen much peace, or it has been fleeting at best. I pray for each of you a little bit of time this day to pause and absorb the full scope and meaning of the birth we celebrate. That even if there is no snow wherever you are reading this from, there is some peace and quiet so you can hear the still quiet whisper from God that is trying to remind you that it’s all for you. This incarnation, this in-breaking of God into this chaotic world- is all for you. And that God longs to bring you a sense of peace to calm your fears and restore your spirit this Christmas.
Merry Christmas my friends. May the peace and quiet of a blanket of snow find you this day.