Winter officially came in during the wee hours of this night. It arrived here gently, possibly with a few flakes of snow overnight as the temperature dropped, but with the promise of daytime sunshine. Where I am right now there’s not much snow around – not like last year at this time – but coming from the balmy west coast of Canada, I’m accustomed to green Christmases.
Yesterday I was reading the admission of blogging friend Kathryn Neff Perry, who said, “Several years ago I traded pine trees and snow for palm trees and sand. The first Christmas away from the cold and beautiful white blanket I was homesick. Nothing seemed the same. Nothing felt right.”
I’m not sure where the ideal of a “white Christmas” originated, because the first Christmas hardly took place amid a snow-covered landscape. But for some reason we’ve romanticized the season to Currier and Ives and Norman Rockwell proportions.
Admittedly, I think snow is beautiful, despite the walking and driving hazards, and one of the family memories I treasure is of a Christmas spent at the lake pictured here. This photo was taken just last month from our cabin window after an early skiff of snow. But the Christmas I remember was when my parents lived in their house across the creek.
Two feet of snow covered everything that December. My parents arranged for the road to be plowed right to their remote gate, so we could get there in our chained-up citified car. Subsequent flurries dusted the trees to a fairyland. We shoveled snow from the frozen lake for skating, went snowshoeing, and tobogganing. Christmas morning the fireplace was lit and we sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and shared gifts from under our traditional Cariboo-grown pine tree. It was perfect – more perfect than any of us imagined it could be.
Our family has talked of spending another Christmas there. It would have to be in our little cabin as the house is no longer available. There’s no way to plow the back road we now use, so all people and supplies would have to be transported the last five kilometers on snowmobiles. It’s possible, and it may happen one year. But we’ll probably never quite re-create that one memorable time.
We all look back with nostalgia, but a memorable Christmas isn’t dependent upon places and people long gone. Every Christmas is a new celebration of a Baby’s birthday … the arrival of the Son of God into our world. As Kathryn said, “He is the reason for Christmas.”
He is the gift – God’s gift to us – and everything we do to celebrate the occasion is merely the giftwrap. Once unwrapped, what we choose to do with the Gift will say a lot about how much we value the Giver. Where we hold the party and what the weather is like matters not.
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