It’s Christmas morning. Overnight, God took his sifter and dusted the trees and ground with white snow. It’s pretty. Snow and Christmas just go together. Here are some of the views from my windows in Tennessee.
It’s nothing like the snow that falls in South Dakota. It isn’t like the snow that falls in Connecticut or the snow of my youth in New York City. Truly South Dakota is a storehouse of snow.
I will probably never know all the reasons God sent me to the storehouse of snow. I am sure that years from now, I’ll still be pondering this experience, trying to make sense of both its pain and occasional joys. As hard as I tried, when ultimately we leave and return south, I will miss some people very deeply.
We had a good Christmas. It could have been very slim. A “savior” stepped in and saved us. We were able to shop and have a meal. Last night it was ziti, sauce, and meatballs, simple food to get us to the main event of reading the Christmas story and opening presents. Everyone had plenty to eat. A few cookies, a slice of julekake, a cup of coffee before the fun began.
I guess I like tradition. When I was a young mother with two small boys, I decided that we needed them. There was never any doubt that we’d open presents on Christmas Eve. I am Norwegian. That’s an absolute. I wanted my children to hear the Christmas story as part of their festivities. Every Christmas Eve the tradition is that the youngest child who can read, reads the story. My youngest daughter is so glad there are some grandchildren around; she had that honor for many years. This year we deviated, I had my 17 year old grandson read Luke 2:1-20. I video recorded it. It is such a testimony to God’s faithfulness. You can read more about this here.
Sometimes I pray, sometimes I don’t. That part of the tradition never stuck. Then the youngest child opens a present. In turn, youngest to oldest each person gets a chance to open. Each one waits their turn. Some people may like mayhem but I always wanted to see the look on each child’s face as they opened their present. It was like savoring a fine meal. I can still see my children when they were young as their eyes burst open and the squeals came out.
Over the last few years, our Christmases have had a hollowness to them. Too many of the family is missing. I still have allusions of massive family Christmases. When the children were little I would imagine all 8 of them home for Christmas. We’ve swelled to a small tribe of over 20 but we only had eight last night. But there was joy. There was a joy in the family I haven’t experienced for a while. Maybe it’s me. Maybe the long days and nights in the storehouse of snow have changed me. I know they have and like Mary, I ponder them in my heart.
I miss my mother. I sat in the chair she normally sat in at Christmas. She’d say with each gift, “oh, I don’t deserve this.” After a box of tea, a new shirt, new pj’s, perhaps some jars of jelly, she’d go off to her room for the night with tears in her eyes. Yet, I know that she is in heaven with my dad, with her best friend Marguerite who joined her a few months after she got there. She’s there to hug the child I lost, the grandchild I lost and all the others who have gone. She’s happy. She’s very happy. She’s a peace. Most of all, she’s seen Jesus.
It’s another Christmas. In a few days we’ll head back to the storehouses of snow for more lessons. I’m a better student now. I’m ready for the snow.