I am sitting in my office looking out the window at the yard covered with all of the snow that fell overnight. On my right is a steaming cup of tea, and my trusty dog is curled up on the chair on the other side of the room. I might be crazy, but I like winter and I think it is my favorite season of the year. There is something about the cold air, the smell of wood burning in a nearby fireplace, and the promise of new life in the spring that makes me happy.
Perhaps it is the memories of my childhood that the snow calls to mind -- those days of sledding down the hill not far from my ancestral home or the snowball fights that all of the neighborhood kids would have. I have a fond memory of wearing bread bags on my feet inside my boots to keep my feet dry. Sounds crazy, I know, but it sure did work. I could stay out all day and my feet would be as dry as when I left. Good times.
Don't get me wrong, I like the summer and working the garden, but there is something about days like today when the entire world is covered in snow that makes me smile. For the past few weeks I have been looking out this same window and the brown grass and the trees without leaves, and now it is all covered with a blanket of snow hiding all that is underneath it. A transformation has taken place, and it gives us a new way of looking at things.
Earlier this morning I took a walk outside to tend to my chickens and the air was crisp and it was almost silent. The chickens were standing in the door of their coop waiting for me to come and free them from their captivity. They needed to find their way to the feeder and the water but the snow was in their way. Before I got to work, I looked around the area. I turned 360 degrees and tried to take it all in. It all looked so different covered in its new covering of snow.
There was a soft wind blowing, the trees were moving ever so slightly, and off in the distance I could hear the rumble of the snow plow, but the rest of the world was silent and the air was crisp almost perfect. I stood there for a few moments and thought about what was hidden under the snow and my mind wandered to how we tend to hide things from each other.
Underneath our deep blanket of ourselves, we hide a lifetime of things that we do not want anyone to see. Maybe these are things we are ashamed of and would cause us embarrassment if people found out about them. Perhaps we hide the pain of a loss that strikes a bit harder this time of year. Maybe, like so many, we are alone and we mask this fact with a brave face. We all cover things over, just like the snow has covered the brown grass under it.
Sometimes we bury these things so deep we forget they even exist, but then they find their way back into our consciousness and they remind us of the past. The holiday season can be difficult for some as this is the time of the year when all of the things that we have hidden try to poke through. As the covering melts, we hope for more snow that will become so deep as to keep all of it covered and no one will be able to see what we are going through.
In a few short weeks we will celebrate the birth of the King of Peace. The birth of Jesus Christ is to bring order out of chaos, not in the world around us but in our world, the world of our interior. Getting to that place of interior silence requires us to descend from our head to our heart, but in order to do that we have to travel through all of those things that we hope to keep hidden under that nice white layer of snow. We have to learn to deal with our past in order to move forward. In order to come face to face with the King of Peace, we first have to have peace in our own lives.
Take time in these last few days of the Advent season to slow down and start to take a look at what we have hidden and prepare our lives for the coming of the King. We spend hours cleaning our homes before people come for the holidays; spend time cleaning the home of your heart for the birth of the King.