The furnace hums below me in the basement…my red fleece slippers and robe feel right for this morning just ten days before Christmas. Our massive mahogany table sits covered with the heirloom lace tablecloth from Italy. My laptop glares at me on one side of the table while eight stoic chairs perch around the edge, staring at the back of its open lid. The quiet dining room seems shadowy and mysterious as the day begins. I look ahead, across the lacy tabletop and through the drafty window with its missing patches of paint, to watch snow falling outside. Falling, yes, but also dancing in the wind – skittishly hurrying through the air, the flakes flying like millions of Tinkerbelles on errands of urgent purpose.
They seem to be transcendent.
Deep within my soul, soft daggers simultaneously fly in random patterns, so many that I cannot begin to count them. Each pelts my heart only to melt there, leaving pools that run freely into streams and gather in quiet ponds. The daggers of heartache and loss and empty desire strike painfully, and yet are only a means of delivering God’s grace. They seem to mysteriously transform into…could it be hope?
Is that the message? Perhaps there is another.
People are like snowflakes, blustery and sometimes full of sting, but messengers all the same. We can’t live without each other. Sometimes we fly together, driven toward some common vision or desire – or death – and even find ourselves occasionally sticking together in clumps and standing out in the crowd. Sometimes we fly in jagged patterns, crazed and needing direction, and other times we seem more purposeful and directed. Which flake am I, amidst the flurry out there? Which one of so many?
Minutes click by, and the room grows less dark. It seems almost a blizzard rages now. A blinding mass of horizontal frozen whiteness streams by the window as if the flakes are afraid to touch the ground. “Where are you going? Can you slow down – or is your business really so urgent? What pressure drives you like this? Must you cut and demand your way through life?”
The snowflakes oddly seem to reply in unison:
“…I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things…I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…” (Phil. 3:8 and 10)
The furnace fan roars again, its wood fire glowing with energetic flames beneath the floor boards in a tight fire box hidden from my current view. Those snowflakes…they are a call to life, a call to not waste suffering, a call to enlist with others in redeeming God’s holiness on earth. The house is starting to warm up. I can face the cold, even run out there in the middle of the madness, because the holy flame of promise propels my heart. I’m off to do just that, even in my floppy red slippers, just for a moment, and feel the snow on my face…….