Besides the fact it only can happen when it’s freezing out? Sorry, couldn’t resist ; ) My husband and I were talking about what makes snow better than rain as we walked to town to buy our son a sled. And it’s definitely the playability factor. Snow is fun; snow brings lots of opportunity like sledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowballs, and snowmen, igloos, and many more. When was the last time you tried to make a rain-man? It probably didn’t work well, if you did try.
Snow has substance that rain just doesn’t have. Snow can be held, built, and seen for longer than rain. Rain simply drenches the scenery. Snow completely transforms it. I’m not against the rain. I can enjoy a good rainy day with a book and coffee. But snow days are fun days. Snow can get school canceled, roads closed, and everyone out playing.
So I’m thankful for the snow. And I’m especially thankful for the people I get to spend time with as we enjoy the beauty of this thing God made, this white blanket that covers all that sleeps for winter.
And if you are connected to the military, especially if you’ve been stationed overseas, you know exactly what I mean when I say that. So here is my tribute to the people behind the mailed gifts, those precious boxes that we call Care Packages.
Through the years, I’ve sent my share of care packages, to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of those first ones were over a Christmas ten years ago, complete with a mini-tree and little tiny ornaments. And of course my own excitement in receiving boxes from home, from loved ones while we lived in Italy.
And now, I’m the recipient again: and I want to say a big public thank you to my mom and dad, my best friend, my husband’s family – for taking the time to fill a box with goodies, stand in line at a post office, and get it all done in time to sit under my tree and tantalize my kids with thoughts from stateside.
Do you know someone who’s far away from home? Well, if you didn’t get a Christmas Care Package out, those kinds of things are much appreciated ANY time of year. Your time and energy spent buying and mailing little goodies can brighten a soldier or his family for much longer than you’ll be wishing people around you ‘season’s greetings’ and ‘Merry Christmas.’
So, Christmas shopping and giving…we have decided this year will be a good transition from the focus of getting to giving for our kids. I’ll confess, last year I overdid the gifts for them, probably in trying to compensate for our first year away from relatives for Christmas in a while. But this year, I want to get us back on track. So to ease into it, we’ve decided to make the giving the main event by working together as a family to buy one present per person. So that means my husband, son, and I will go together to get a gift for my daughter, the kids and hubby will go for one gift for me, etc. I hope this helps the kids to see how to put their hearts into being the giver, just like we did with the shoeboxes.
But speaking of giving, via my sister I saw that we are not the only ones celebrating the giving this year: Noisetrade has some Christmas music they are gifting to people, and with any tips they receive they are donating money to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Go HERE to see that, but I’ve put a song here from the cd for your enjoyment from their free download.
We are getting to the end of Dicken’s classic, A Christmas Carol. Last night, we finished reading about the ghost of Christmas Present. And when it came time to go to bed, my daughter was upset – I had ended reading on a bad note (I really had just ended at the end of a chapter, which to me makes sense). She was left with the images of the two grotesque children, Want and Ignorance, and the last ghost walking up to Scrooge in the mist and fog. After she described it in her words, I did see that it was a pretty disturbing thought to be left with in light of the jolly tone of the rest of the chapter.
I suggested she think about the rest of the story of their travels we read, not the last part that was pending doom. But what I should have told her was to look forward to how Scrooge, she knows, is going to change and become a better man. That’s one benefit we have of reading stories that are familiar, is we know what will happen in the end. We can have the big picture view.
But then, in light of real-life, I guess looking back is the most helpful, so we can see and hold on to the good things that God does. Now, as a person who trusts in Jesus for my future, I can do both. I can look back on the things that He has worked out for good, and I can look forward to what He has promised.
Now, I am opposed to ignoring the ‘grotesque’ and sad things, the not so nice and ugly (both in books and in real-life). My option would never be to skip over the next chapter, even though it’s dark and not light hearted. I’ll use some wisdom in when I read it, being sure to leave enough time for things to turn around before the kids have to sleep. And the reason is, Charles captures in his contrast of these two things the consequences of our choices. And the opportunity to see them for what they are – and make a turn around when needed like Scrooge did when faced with all of it, the good and bad. Just like I can apply to life: I can look at and learn from the bad and the ugly of events of the past, and make a change when I need it. And hopefully become a better person, too.
I just started following JD’s blog, and I am encouraged by his practical words and love for the Bible – something we share in common. Last night, I decided to start reading “A Christmas Carol” again since I’ll be seeing a live play of the same this month. And so, it was very timely to see this post of A Devoted Life:
“I put a New Testament among your books, for the very same reasons, and with the very same hopes that made me write an easy account of it for you, when you were a little child; because it is the best book that ever was or will be known in the world.… ”
~ Charles Dickens; a note written to his child upon leave home
In honor of Charles Dickens, considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian period, who held his first public reading in the United States on this day in 1867.