Winter Snow in Africa

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Right in the middle of my holly, jolly day of baking goodies and listening to my holiday CDs, yes CDs in my non-streaming African home, I was taken completely off guard by the lump in my throat and the tears that came sneaking out of my eyes as the track turned to a familiar song that made me miss home in a major way. What is it with tunes and smells and tastes that move us to remember, to miss so deeply? It was a collection of songs I’d never listened to before, so I was surprised to learn I even had this tune in my possession. Instantly, I could see the little white line moving it’s way across the screen during the Christmas’ Eve service at our Church in NC, leaving in it’s path a winter nativity scene. I could see my sister-in-law’s hands weighing heavy on the ivory keys at just the right moments, with just the right amount of intensity to force the grand piano to play the notes that would complement her voice just so. Right away, I missed our Church, the Christmas Eve service with loved ones, my family and in that moment, even more so Miss Angel, my sister-in-law.

I ran over to the CD, turned up the volume and told the player to start that song again so I could soak in every note, every word. It was one of those times when it’s just better to feel the pain and do it up right. Because everything is usually all about me, being the selfish human being that I am, I listened at first with myself in mind. Thinking about all I was missing at home. But it only took a few cars on my train of thoughts to move me on to the beauty of the song and it’s incredible meaning. Here’s some of what it says about our Savior that first Christmas.

Could’ve come like a mighty storm

With all the strength of a hurricane

You could’ve come like a forest fire

With the power of Heaven in Your flame

 

But You came like a winter snow

Quiet and soft and slow

Falling from the sky in the night

To the earth below

 

Ooh no, Your voice wasn’t in a bush burning

No, Your voice wasn’t in a rushing wind

It was still, it was small, it was hidden

As I sit by our fireplace typing, it’s mesmerizing, even as the fire burns out. I tried to light it earlier today, but I’m no girl scout, so all I got was a little smoke and ashes. As I tossed in balls of flaming paper and tried to arrange the kindling just so, I nearly burnt myself twice. I was reminded of the strength of a flame, even in tiny bits. And as far as hurricanes are concerned, as a coastal girl for most of my life, I’ve seen that strength firsthand. I’m reminded that when God sent Jesus, the Messiah, the King, these are the things people were expecting. Strength. Power. Rushing wind. But that wasn’t His plan at all. His mighty voice was hidden inside a helpless infant. He came quiet and soft and slow. This is how He chose to come, to us.

Immanuel, God with us, has always been one of my favorite names of Jesus. And especially during this, my 37th season of advent, it has meant more to me now than ever. The thought of God Himself, coming to earth (it’s crazy down here y’all) just to be with me and you is unfathomable. But He did it. He came and, lucky for us, He came to stay. So when I feel a little homesick about Christmas I can know that no matter where I roam, God goes with me. Or when my heart breaks right into two jagged pieces at the thought of my sister-in-law, beautifully singing Winter Snow this year without her sweet Mama in the crowd grinning from ear-to-ear as she proudly listens from the second row because this Christmas is her Mama’s first one celebrating with Jesus by her side, I can know with great confidence, that Immanuel isn’t just for me, he’s for my Angel too. He’s for each of us. He may seem hard to find at times, even hidden, but He’s there. Quietly. Softly. Slowly give Him your time and you just may be able to hear Him, feel Him, see Him for yourself. And when you do, I pray the feelings those senses evoke will be warm and hopeful, filling and encouraging.

Oh, You came like a winter snow

Quiet and soft and slow

Falling from the sky in the night

To the earth below

Celebrate His arrival. Tis the season. Tis always the season.

{And if you wanna watch the Winter Snow video by Chris Tomlin, click HERE. It won’t be nearly as good as our Angel’s version, but it’ll do. }