A Little Taste of Christmas

Christmas Program.JPG

My husband and I had the pleasure of attending our grandson’s school Christmas program this past week. I say it was a pleasure because it really was. Four days later, the thought of that program still brings a smile to my face and a feeling of contentment.

We enjoyed watching a large group of 3 – 5 year old preschoolers sing their love of Jesus. It was Wigglers.JPGso much fun watching them do actions, wave at their parents and grandparents, sing, wave some more, do some more actions (not all that belonged to the song) and yes wave at their siblings and parents…….

I was a little fearful that the back row of kids were going to fall off the risers and vanish, with all the squirming, twisting, turning, waving and peering around that they were doing. I thought the teachers showed great insight when they stationed themselves behind those risers and would steady the wiggling masses every now and then.

I discovered that little girls in their sparkly dresses, velvety hair bows, and shiny patent shoes were just as mobile as the small boys were. There was a lot of energy bouncing around on the risers that night.

Somewhere in the middle of all the waving, bouncing, and twisting; those little kids told the amazing story of Christmas. Maybe it was the innocence of children all dressed in their Christmas best….  Maybe it was the atmosphere of excitement…..Maybe it was the gathering of everyone in that gym who came because of love….I am still not totally sure, but somewhere between the start of that program and the ending; the real meaning of Christmas kind of washed over me.

The feeling stole in unnoticed and was covered by the sound of children. Perhaps the sound of children was part of it? All I know is by the time we finished that program and all sang Silent Night from memory there were tears in my eyes and I had the feeling that I had just made a visit to that stable in Bethlehem with a group of preschoolers as my guide.

I am convinced that children are some of the world’s best messengers when it comes to the Christmas story.  Their pure delight in praise, their uninhibited display of joy, and the love that lights up their eyes when they find their family in the crowd all testify to an unconditional love.

It was also a lot of fun to watch my grandchildren after that program.  The school served cookies, coffee and juice afterwards. I had to laugh when those two wee ones would look around to see if their folks were watching and if not, another cookie would quickly disappear into their mouths.  They were chewing as fast as they could.

Our weekend with our family passed way too quickly. It did not take long and we were on our way back home again. The morning we left we got to enjoy the seasons first snowfall with them. (I should say their season’s first snowfall.)

Our grandson woke us up that Sunday morning by running into our room and asking  if we had looked outside. I told him no we had not. In a voice filled with wonder he announced, “It snowed.”

It did not take long and the scrambling for snow pants, boots, mittens and hats started. They sat on the deck and made little miniature snowmen, complete with twig arms, raisin eyes and carrot noses.

After warming up with a cup of hot chocolate it was time for us to get in the car and make the long drive home and for them to head for church.  (fortunately for them, their church has an early and a late morning service.)

squirrelI do wonder if the raisin eyes and carrot noses on those snowmen survived till they got home from church…..their backyard is home to a lot of squirrels.  I have a feeling if they do disappear; it will not be a problem.  The energy and optimism of a three and a five year old will just go ahead and build some new snowmen.

Hope springs eternal in the hearts of children. Magic is to be found in every snowflake and life is something to be danced to like it was music…….and maybe it is……we might have to just listen closely with the heart of a child.

May we take the time to look at the coming week with the heart of a child.  Take time to dance and find the magic.

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:
the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.

Burton Hillis quotes 

Read more: http://www.searchquotes.com/quotes/about/Kids_Christmas/1/#ixzz4S2CPMeAY

First Snow

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For days the weatherman has been warning us that we had a change coming in our weather.  I was totally satisfied with the unseasonable 60 degree days; so this was one time I kind of wish he had not been right. It seems the older I get, the colder I get….(except for those hot flash times and that is another whole story.)

When I woke up during the night I could hear the wind howling, though it was too dark to see what was really happening out there. It sounded like some mythical creature roaring around the corners and snarling as it went. It was an angry sounding wind.

It was fairly typical for an Iowa snowstorm….strong winds, sideways snow. The storm was enough of a hazard to close most area schools and cancel lots of activities. The local radio announcers were kept busy updating those announcements most of the morning.

I have a feeling that how we view the first winter snowstorm of the season totally depends on our age. My facebook feed was full of pictures of kids and grandkids sledding, making snowmen and just generally doing what kids do out in the snow.

Kids seem to be able to find a magical quality to  snowy days. Maybe they are just more adaptable to change.  Maybe they are just more optimistic? Or maybe they just choose to find the joy in a cold snowy place. Perhaps we need some life lessons from children?

I will admit this snow was ideal for packing and making those snowmen and if I were younger, many years younger, I would have also been out there for some snow fun. Instead, I found myself, grudgingly putting on my winter coat, pulling on my insulated boots and trudging out to do my chicken chores.

I was less than impressed by the gusty winds that threw cold wet snow in my face as I rounded the corner of the garage.  The girls were not impressed by the weather either. They stayed close to the coop most of the day.

When I finally went out later in the afternoon to snap a few pictures I saw the snow in a different light. For some reason looking through a camera lens gives an entirely different perspective. Maybe it is because it narrows your focus down to a smaller space? It is always easier to take things in smaller pieces.

I found that the view towards the river, while blustery, had a unique beauty to it that only shows itself with a winter landscape. The blowing snow gave everything a softer, hazy look. The snow softened the rough, ragged look of the harvested corn in the bottom field.

The bottom field.JPG

Looking through my camera lens did bring back some of the magic that snow brings…..not to the degree of a child…..but some. Finding my honeysuckle vine, still blooming, while full of snow, brought a smile to my face.

blooming-through-the-snow

I took the bloom as a sign of hope. Hope that though the winter weather has just started, it will not last forever. Hope that during the coming cold, dark days that make up winter,the perennials are waiting under the snow for the warming spring rains.

Hope is what keeps us going. Hope fuels our joy. And hope does really spring eternal. I wish you the joy that is Hope. I wish you joy while you prepare for the Thanksgiving season. And may the days that seem cold and dreary be transformed with a child-like wonder.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently?
And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt;
and perhaps it says,
“Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

Lewis Carroll,
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass