Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow… (In the Bleak Midwinter, by Christina Rosetti)
Mid-afternoon yesterday, I forced the porch door open and staggered through the drifts. I drove my shovel into the layered snow of the driveway and heaved each load up and over the bank. Between grunts and groans, I hummed, “snow on snow, snow on snow…”. My shoulders ached and my forearms arms tingled. All the while, the wind danced and roared, driving stinging flakes into my face and mocking my efforts as the drifts swirled back into place. This work felt a bit like bailing out a sinking lifeboat. I know it is strange, but I really enjoy these moments that test the strength of my body, mind and spirit. I like being reminded of both my capacity and my feebleness. I sense the God who made humanity (and our technological abilities) to be strong AND to have limits. I meet the God fashioned nature with its own power and integrity, and who calls us to respect and honor the authority of wind and snow and storm.
Last night, as I rocked our daughter at bedtime, I sang to her, “In the bleak midwinter.. snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow.” The windows rattled and the furnace hummed. Wordlessly, Eliza reached for her crib, and the warmth of her down comforter. I give thanks for a safe home, and a dry bed. I bear in mind all who shiver, weary and worn, amid the harsh blizzards of life. I pray that Advent light and hope will steadily grow from flicker to blaze.