Several years ago, an exceptionally hectic and challenging season forced me to postpone Christmas shopping until December 23. Trying to shop in crowded malls with a minimal budget frustrated me. On the 24th, after a long, crowded Greyhound bus ride, I forced my way into my hometown’s bus terminal, lugging wobbly luggage behind me. There was nowhere to sit, and I was shaking from physical exhaustion as I waited for my sister. She was stuck in holiday traffic. As a result, we barely had time to toss my luggage in my parent’s guest room before leaving for church.
We arrived forty-five minutes before the service began, but it took a few minutes for an usher to find us a seat. I put on a brave face as we waited at the back of the church, shaking hands with my mother’s friends. But as I made small talk, I longed to retreat to a quiet space.
I was grateful when we were finally seated. The children’s choir led us in carol singing before the service began. The familiar lyrics soothed my spirit and as I gazed at the manger near the altar, I remembered it was all about Him.
We walked out into a fairyland as we exited the church. A fresh blanket of glittering snow had fallen. I was at peace with the world and with the Lord.
It was a family tradition to have a warm drink and listen to my mother’s favourite Christmas album upon our arrival home after the Christmas Eve service. The soft light from the tree and the warm tones of Mahalia Jackson’s ‘Go Tell It On The Mountain’ comforted me, and I felt renewed. I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of that snowy night. My sister echoed my sentiments, and we bundled up in our coats, boots, and mitts and headed out for a walk.
The snow muffled our footsteps as we strolled around the block. The street lights highlighted the falling snow, transformed our old neighbourhood into a Winter Wonderland. Our conversation slowly drifted away. We immersed ourselves in the sweet stillness. The spirit of the beloved carol “Silent Night, Holy Night” embraced me. There wasn’t any room in my heart that night for anything but contentment and thanksgiving. The worries of ministry were behind me, and the hectic busyness of tomorrow was in the distant future. I breathed in the gift of peace, and that peace carried me.
I didn’t know it then, but that Christmas Eve marked my last winter pleasure walk. Even with the aid of my cane, I wouldn’t have been able to walk around that block without my sister’s help. My disability no longer allows me the luxury of walking down a snowy sidewalk without the fear of falling. But every time I look out the window on a snowy, peaceful December evening, I remember that night, and I thank God for His gift that remains within me always.
Seek moments of stillness and find His Glory made manifest, not only during this Advent season but also in the year to come. Amid busyness, family, and life’s obligations, breathe in His peace and allow it to carry you through all your days.
All Bible references, unless indicated, are from the NASB 1995 edition.
Until next week,
©2021 Katherine Walden