Tuesday, December 16, 2008
It's a deep freeze week in Minnesota. My husband is glued to the weather forecast each night before bed and watches the Weather Channel each morning before work, anticipating the cold darkness of December with childlike enthusiasm. Clearly he's a native.
On Saturday we finally bought our Christmas tree, a strapping three-foot Norfolk Pine. It's potted so we can watch it grow during the year and, perhaps, decorate it again next winter. She's a beaut! We spent the afternoon wrapping presents and pulling out ornaments to adorn our little friend. Outside, the air grew cold and harsh.
Sunday gathered all kinds of people for worship despite the frigid rain. The kids' Christmas play was after the service and we huddled downstairs to see them proclaim the incarnation. And though St. John's is a grand building in the big city, there was something intimate about the church basement. It felt like the warm family of a small country church. The set was hand-painted, the costumes homemade and the lines prompted by a parent kneeling in front. They whispered their lines with bashful excitement and belted out the Christmas carols sprinkled throughout. All rejoiced for the room's chaos and energy as they left the stage. We drank coffee to defrost before heading back into the slush.
On Monday I celebrated Sabbath, which grants welcome permission to wander the city in layers of sweats with greasy hair stuffed under my hat and fur-lined boots to keep the sidewalk's chill at bay. I bounced between the gym and a coffee shop. I shoveled the walk and asked an equally disheveled old man where to find pimento at the grocery store. The cold was no match for my sloppy bundle and list of errands.
But today was different. I braved the day in real work clothes, missing my casual layers and wishing I my toes would warm. The windshield wipers left only small and sporadic streaks of clarity and the snow from atop the car blew to cover most of the back window. We all navigated the slick streets with caution. I listened to Martin Sexton all day, finding patience in his lyrics and the happiness you can hear in his voice. At stoplights I watched the snowflakes gather on the tree limbs and street signs, enjoying the blurry view from inside my car.
Tonight I am covered in fleece and blankets, typing as my husband hangs on every word of Dave Dahl's forecast, expectant about tomorrow's gifts of winter. Our little tree is proudly lit and it's time for hot tea to warm my toes. In a season of "in here" and "out there", I am glad to be "in here" for the night. Thank God for the "in here"!
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