There are two gifts I would want to give my readers so close to the birth of Christ.
The first: God’s Word wrapped in His Beauty.
The second: a priceless memory, I’ve never penned to paper. I’ve held it close to my heart as probably, one of the three most magical experiences, God has poured into my life. I want to sketch it out for you in letter and word, here and allow your imagination to draw you in to relive the experience with me. . .
February, 1999, Winter Park, Colorado
It was dusk, at we stood and waiting in the silent snow. Only a candlelit post, embraced with greenery and boasted a velvet red ribbon to mark the spot. It was a group of us, mostly strangers and our family: Bucky, Tracey (pregnant round with healthy blonde, Kathleen), Hope: 10 years old, Ashlyn: 7 years old,Megan:3 years old. Interesting, how people sometimes know sacred ground. No one spoke, in the wait. There was more than enough to take in in God’s panorama of white winter wonderland and the coming of eve in this snow laden forest. No sounds but those of nature as it creaks and moans with the weight of ice and winter wind. Then we heard it. . . . in the far distance, the quiet approach of bells, sleigh bells singing into the crisp, quiet of the blanket of coming sleep of night. Before any forms of life, we saw the flight of snow disturbed rising up before the Clydesdale horse prancing gate. Soft, white flight of freshly fallen snow still soft with hold of cold air layered like tissues protecting a fragile gift. It was all the things of a priceless dream only it was real to fill every sense to overflowing with warm excitement to chase the chill of the stirring winds. The plodding of horse hooves and ringing of bells built as in a crescendo of nature’s musical offering in season.
To see the sleigh, arrive in front of our wide-eyed wonder was magic enough to still the breath of every creature scurrying for tuck in time at home. The bells quieted before us as the horses stilled their strength in wait. As we loaded the red sleigh, piled high with bales of hay and we were tucked gently under the heavy warmth of woolen blankets, we settled into the ride of a lifetime. The horses pulled out with gentle reign nudges and we were off into a Narian Forest of imagination. I wanted it to last forever: The chill on the perked, cold blushed cheeks of my girls, their hair blonde and brown flowing in the winter winds, small hands fleeced with gloves, heads turned to catch the beauty crowned in tasseled topped caps turning every which way, the bounce of the leather belted bells gayly jingling along our path through the forest to a cabin for a warm, home cooked meal and old fashioned barn concert, complete with a washboard band. The time in the candlit barn paled in my desire to get back into that sleigh. (No easy feat, at 8 months pregnant with a baby that would be ten pounds!) Yes, I required some help in getting in and out of the sleigh :). My heart kept whispering, just one more round in the fresh untracked snow, just one more canopy of trees bowed in laced snow,just one more horse whinny in the stillness of His sacred Hand?
There are moments, sacred moments when God whispers beyond the magic of a Hallmark Moment. He whispers with excited anticipation. . .”Be Still and Experience, I am God.” On the way back to our post of call, I closed my eyes; I willed my heart open to every slight stirring God offered. This ride of “old time” sleigh play. . . called all of us back to when time moved with the pulse of people, not people moving to the heightened pulse of the modern digital minutes that race past in a blur of the modern “clock.” Sacred moments are ours to experience in full, but I’ve noticed that as hard as I try, I cannot keep them with me. The sacred touches, the traces of Glory change and move in our world, but it seems to me they cannot remain in the imperfections of our fallen place here. Perhaps when we get to heaven, those “God Moments” that moved through our hands like melting snow, will be preserved there to grasp and hold as gifts that remain as part of who we are in the Kingdom. I sure hope so. . .This priceless memory was one of those “God Moments” that I long to hold and hold and hold. . .forever and ever. . .Amen to the Wonder of His Winter Wonderland.