For the past week and a half, Seattle has been covered in a blanket of white. This is the longest stretch of snow that I can remember in eighteen years of living here, and I have to admit I like it. Seattle is woefully unprepared for this much snow, and much of the city has ground to a halt.
Instead of fighting it, I embrace it.
The snow has forced us all to stop, to pause in the mad dash up to Christmas. Streets in my hilly neighborhood are impassable and bus lines are disrupted. All of my carefully laid plans of the last week have also been disrupted. Last minute shopping, several social gatherings, and even my mother’s planned visit over the holidays have all fallen by the wayside due to the inclement weather.
Yet there are blessings to discover in the snow that uncover the true meaning of Christmas. Streets closed to cars mean that I’ve seen more people out walking in my neighborhood this week than during the sunny month of July. People are pulling together and looking out for one another. The sense of community is palpable – friends are loaning snow shovels, neighbors are checking in on seniors, parents are watching kids sled down closed streets, and strangers are helping to push cars stuck in the snow.
It is this sense of community that lies at the heart of Christmas and reminds us that people, not presents, are what really matter. As we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth, we also remember His last command to the disciples – to love one another. We may not always be called to do so in ways we expect. I expected to spend the week with close friends and family, but instead I’ve grown closer to my neighbors and have shared Christ’s love with strangers. What a wonderful Christmas gift.
From all of us at Earth Ministry, I wish you a joyful and blessed Christmas. May you rejoice in the light and love of Christ within you and share it freely with others.