I was escorted into Advent this year on a sled. I did not become aware of the white Thanksgiving Becky and I would experience until we were on our way up north into Pennsylvania. I watched from an upstairs window as big fat flakes of snow plummeted to the ground and began piling up on the grass of a field across the street. Later, I was transported back to my own childhood as I watched several neighborhood kids begin to ride sleds down the hill. For me, there is something inherently exciting about snow. I know snow is not everyone’s favorite thing, but I appreciate the appeal of “snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes.”
But snow is temporary. If you pick up snow in your bare hands, the heat from your skin will cause it to melt, and the water will drip through your fingers. When I was younger, I would do whatever I could to preserve the snow. My friends and I made snowballs and stored them in a big orange cooler so that we could make withdrawals from our snowbank after the snow in our yards melted. When all we were left with was a cooler full of water, I attempted to move the snow stash into our freezer. That did not work out so well, either, as all I was left with were packed balls of ice in Ziploc baggies. I learned that snow was temporary, and even my best efforts to preserve it would fail.
The season of Advent is a time for us to slow down and appreciate things of eternal significance. The commercialism and consumerism that dominate most of our focus and attention this month try to fill our hands and our lives with things that amount to nothing more than melting snow. All we buy eventually perishes, and no matter what we do to preserve our earthly goods or the false security we receive from them, it all melts away. Advent reminds us that it is indeed the spirit of the one who we wait for during Advent—our Savior Jesus—that truly matters and in whom we find enduring significance.
In Advent we wait for the eternal reign of God. If we are paying attention to it, tending a patient and hopeful expectation within our own souls, then our commitment to the work of Christ will be hastened and sharpened. Advent reminds us that there is more to our life—much more—than melting snow. And if we come to a place where we want that something more for ourselves, then we are receiving the grace of Advent. My prayer for you this Advent is that you do discover the desire for more—more than snow, more than temporary—and that you will seek after the real Spirit of Christ with all your heart, soul, and strength.