I wanted to be snowed in this Christmas. To be tucked away at home, all cozy and wrapped up in blankets, reading books in front of the fireplace, my husband and I with cups of hot chocolate in our hands. Exactly the way I love for the week between Christmas and New Year’s to be: quiet and unplanned. But this year I wanted to be snowbound on Christmas Day itself.
Why, you may ask? This year, it would just be my husband and me, and I’m feeling a little blue. Isn’t it better to be stuck at home–alone–from the snow than because you don’t have any plans?
Except for two things, I’m getting exactly what I wished for.
One, the ground is dry and no snow is predicted.
Two, I feel pretty crummy. I’m tucked away at home because I have Covid.
I’ve discovered there’s not that much difference between being quarantined at home from an illness and being stranded at home from a snowstorm. Both options mean you can’t leave your house.
And here’s the funny thing: except for feeling sick–which actually is a big exception, it’s not that bad for me being quarantined.
Steve and I did a ton of Christmas activities last week–the musical Anastasia, the ballet The Nutcracker, and a Romanian Christmas concert–and I caught Covid at one of them. We had the hoopla and the rushing around and the traffic and the to-do lists. And more than that, we had lots of fun. I felt like I was starting to come back to life again. I got a taste of things to come.
Now I get a chance to be quiet and still. To sit in front of the lights, listen to Christmas music, and read lots of books. (I’ll easily surpass my GoodReads reading challenge now!)
I have time to reflect.
To remember Christmases past with my family. The happy times when I was young and we were all together. The last three years, both the trauma–filled with ER visits and deliriums and dying–and the sweetness and grace upon grace those final months with my parents. I would not trade that sweetness for anything.
I remember Christmases overseas. My first one when my team of four were stranded in Bucharest for several days–a city with no heat or streetlights or decorations. When the airport finally reopened, we barely made it to Switzerland in time to meet the other Eastern European teams who’d gathered in a small mountain village.
That Christmas Eve, several of us walked through the thick, quiet snow to a beautiful Anglican church where we listened to the words of Stille Nacht (Silent Night). My heart was so full of gratitude that year. Gratitude for all the miraculous things I’d seen God do in Eastern Europe. Gratitude that I was there, that we’d made it out on the last flight.
This year, I have lots of unplanned, unhurried time to think about what Christmas is all about. Not the Hallmark movie idea of what it’s all about, but the wonder of God stooping to earth in the form of a baby. A baby who came to die for me and for you. To ponder the great mystery that God chose to enter our darkness so that we can enter into his light.
“Life itself was in Him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:4-5
Shepherds pray at the sight
Glory streams from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born
Merry Christmas, Friend! May you find quiet moments to reflect on the mystery.