The first flake fell all alone. I saw it as I was standing on the porch waiting for the dog to do his business. The air smelled like snow, wet and cold and so fresh!
By the time I took up my early morning spot on the sunroom couch, the snow was falling lightly. The valley below was turning white, and I could only see a bit of the mountains across the other side. A few minutes later, I looked up from my book and the mountains were gone. And then, so was the valley.
I sit there each morning for the view. The farther I can see, the better. On blue-sky clear days, the mountains twenty-some miles across the valley cut the sky with their ridge.
But now my view was limited to the tree line right in front of the little patch of grassy yard on the side of our mountain. The same trees I look straight past when my eyes are yearning for the view.
As my view closed in, so did my focus. I noticed the craggy sculpture like bends of the dead tree at the edge of the woods. The rocks emerged as the snow whitened their tops. The snow itself became more visible. My limited view became the backdrop for all this glorious heaven-pure falling from the sky. The flakes like ballerinas in a massive, soundless choreography.
My heart's view narrowed as well. As if on cue, my family's faces took center stage. We wouldn't be going anywhere. The kids would be wanting to sled. The tree needed lights. We could read by the fire. Maybe bake.
And we did. Sam and I read Christmas books as I wrestled his almost but not quite too big eleven year old body into my lap. I sledded with the boys for two hours. We ate lunch in front of the fire and watched Christmas cartoons. The tree was illuminated and decorated.
A few weeks ago I heard a piece of advice given to my son's bride-to-be . . "Give him your eyes and smile."
Those words have rung in my ears and pulled at my heart ever since . . "Give them your eyes and your smile." Isn't that what the ones we love really want? Isn't that what we really desire?
Your eyes . . the window to the soul. Eyes don't lie. That makes them the very best conduit for love.
And your smile. It's like sunshine. Warm, comforting, affirming.
That's what I want to give my loved ones this Christmas season. In the midst of the busyness, events, and gifts, I want to give them my eyes and my smile.
If I dared to tell the kids that was my main gift ambition this Christmas, I can only imagine how they'd respond. I remember physically feeling my heart sink when my own mom would talk about "keeping Christmas simple". . code for fewer presents.
Like that child, I still confuse my heart's hunger with my head's desires. My Heavenly Father offers peace, rest, hope and joy, and my head thinks these are somehow not enough. It says I need stuff. And I need things fixed. I need my people to love me and act like I think they should.
But what I really need are His eyes, searching my soul, illuminating the shadowy places with the gentle and gracious light of his love.
And I need His smile. I need its warmth. Its security.
Christmas is all about how God feeds the deepest hunger of our hearts. God sees, and because of Jesus, He smiles.
And our hearts are filled.
I'm joining Emily & friends at Imperfect Prose