An Unexpected Gift {Part One}

(Humor me? This is a long story, so I’m breaking it up. The second half will appear tomorrow! Thank you for grace. *link is at the bottom of this page!*)

The snow had been a gift.

I remember when I was a girl growing up in the rural Midwest, the winter season was one of enchantment. For the children, anyway. I have fond memories of using a pushpin to punch holes through blue construction paper along barely visible pencil lines depicting some snowy scene, wielding rounded scissors to slice triangles and semicircles from paper pure white, and stringing cranberries and stale popcorn to wrap around a tree. Creating simple beauty in my childhood world was a delight, as it is for my own little ones now.

Long awaited and eagerly anticipated, my family’s yearly visit to church for Christmas Eve made my heart skip in anticipation while I pulled on patent-leather shoes and brushed my hair smooth. I loved walking inside that beautiful little building, taking in the greenery and red bows everywhere, and hanging our coats in the big open coatroom at the entrance to my grandparents’ church, like we were travelers finally returning home from a long journey. I loved to hear the pastor’s messages, familiar and comforting, about God the Father who loved me so much He’d sent His Son and started Christmas all those years ago. I loved the darkness when lights were turned off, a single light glimmering, then flowing down each row as the flame was passed candle to candle, even to little ones like me, and I watched my own wick burn and the “Silent Night” words blur through my tears which seemed to spring from nowhere but the realization that right then, at that moment, all was right in my little world. The message about Jesus coming to earth was beautiful, and I knew deep down that it was true.

But even then, it was the snow that did it.

Before Christmas ever arrived, my prayers had begun. Fervent prayers, prayed by a little girl who believed … for snow on Christmas Eve.

It became a family joke of sorts. My parents weren’t the praying type, so it was the only time of year it was really mentioned. Whether it was in the forecast or not, for most of the years of my childhood, we had snow for Christmas. Someone would see the surprise out a window and holler the exciting news, and my mom would smile and say, “Of course. Misty prayed for snow.”

It was like a secret between God and I; my sign that He loved me.

A trip to Pennsylvania for the Relevant conference in October enticed with a promise not just of girly fellowship and learning, but a chance to see the blazing hues of fall foliage, much missed since we moved to the balmy, one-season South from postcard-perfect seasons in New England. And I wasn’t disappointed. Though Vermont beats everywhere else for glorious autumns, the rolling hills around Hershey undulated in crimson and pumpkin and gold. Squealing ensued as I gratefully took in the rare view during the ten-minute shuttle ride to the hotel.

Teaching sessions, meals, speaking panels, and deep conversation in between took up the bulk of our days. Since we were two hundred fifty women gathered in one place, all with a penchant for writing, it’s understandable that there were a lot of words being bandied about. But a surprising buzz began to wend its way down hallways and up elevators late Friday afternoon …

A surprise snowstorm was headed to Harrisburg, and expected to leave at least six inches in its wake.

(More at An Unexpected Gift {Part Two})

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3 Responses to An Unexpected Gift {Part One}

  1. Pingback: An Unexpected Gift {Part Two} | | Encouraging Hearts at HomeEncouraging Hearts at Home

  2. Beth says:

    I am stopping over from the Homeschool Blog Awards – saw your nominations and wanted to ceck out some new blogs =-) You have such thoughtful, beautifully writtne things – I am enjoying reading!  If you have an Christmas baking coming up I’d love for you to link it up to my Holiday Baking Linky – http://livinglifeintentionally.blogspot.com/2011/11/holiday-traditions-3christmas-cookies.html – I am your newest reader. I’d love for you to follow me back, if you want to!

  3. Pingback: How To Trim a Beautiful Christmas Tree | | Encouraging Hearts at HomeEncouraging Hearts at Home

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