The first snow of the season arrived the Sunday before Thanksgiving. My husband and I drove where the snow fell the deepest. We walked in the clouds and marveled at the snow. It fell heavily all around us. We would have driven farther, but the roads became too slick. Instead, we discovered this out of the way place. Detours are not all bad. Most people gathered inside warm homes, churches, or restaurants today. A few braved it on a bike. We chose to hike for three hours in the wilderness.
We were alone. Pockets of heat billowed from burnt stumps. Inadvertently, we stumbled into a control burn area. Smoke floated over the snow. I caught a few flakes on my tongue. At one point, I twirled, raising my hands and tilting my head back to catch a face full of falling snow. Tony laughed. Our pants and warm clothing became damp. We walked and walked until a herd of Elk paraded past our eyes not 80 yards away. We blinked, fumbled for the camera, and tossed the gloves while I tried to zoom in on them. They disappeared over a tree studded hill. The memory stained my mind all the rest of the week. But God wasn’t done with the week yet.
As the sun rose and I drove to work on Tuesday, I happened to turn my head and see the lake half covered in ice and steam. I was blinded by the beauty of it. The bald granite cliffs cupped the lake. I wish I had a camera and time enough to capture that perfect shot. The perfect picture isn’t always easy to capture. Photographers write of camping out all day waiting for one perfect shot—the clouds, the light, the right wind, or the right shadows. One photographer said that photography was the action of capturing light.
Christmas rarely captures the light. It’s commercialized—Santa, reindeer, bright presents, and striving to show up your neighbor with bigger and better presents. Glenn Beck said it best. In each of our homes we have approximately $12,000 in stored things we don’t want, but are compelled to keep. If you looked at my neighbor’s garage, you’d believe him; that poor man can’t park his cars inside anymore.
How are we capturing light in our lives? The economy is trashed. We’ve overspent. Most of us are struggling with credit card debt from past Christmases and birthdays. We’ve lost our homes. Santa is more real than Jesus because we’ve proven to our children that Santa delivers tangible evidence of “love.” God tends to answer prayers on His own time and not always the way we originally prayed. We think we want something, but God in His all-seeing wisdom, knows it may not be good for us. He won’t give us the pink bunny suit. He’ll give us what our hearts sorely need that the world can’t fill.
My hope for Christmas is for couples to find and capture the light again of why they got married, troubled marriages to work things out, divorcees to become friends so their children can heal from the rift that was created, and for single people to look at the grander scheme of things instead of the loneliness associated with singledom. Capturing the light this year is easy. Invite Christ into your Christmas.
Sumptuous Recipe for a Bad Economy Christmas:
- A fake tree from a thrift store
- A Charlie Brown Tree
- Cut down your own tree
- Repair your child’s toy or doll and make new accessories for it and wrap it up for Christmas (Think Little House on the Prairie books—great lessons in that series)
- Read scripture
- Talk to your kids about why you must scale back on Christmas and teach about Jesus
- Drive up somewhere where there is snow and play
- Remind them that skinny jeans don’t make them as beautiful as the love they carry in their hearts.
- Teach them about giving with your actions (i.e. let someone in front, be courteous while shopping, help someone reach an unreachable item, smile at people, say hello, etc)