A week ago I participated in the children's service at my church. Here's what I shared:
|snow in the yard|
How do you know Christmas is coming? Do you have an advent calendar? Maybe you hear Christmas carols in stores, or you put up a tree? Have you seen the Christmas lights in Madrid? And here in Spain, lots of shops have little Nativities, o Belenes, in the window, verdad? These are all signs of Christmas.
I’m from Canada, do you know where that is? It’s North (mostly) of the United States. In my town, we know Christmas is coming because it starts to get cold. And snowy. And by cold, I mean really, really cold. And by snowy, I mean tons of it. By the time Christmas Eve arrives, the whole town is covered in fluffy white, and it just sparkles. The snow is clean, pure, and shining bright.
Now, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. On December 26th, which is a holiday in Canada called Boxing Day, we have a huge family dinner in the church hall at my Grandmother’s country church. My Grandma has four brothers, so that’s five sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Everyone brings food to share, and the cousins exchange gifts, and the children run around and play games. It’s a day we look forward to all year.
One year we had a very white Christmas. Have you seen snow in Madrid? Do you remember a few weeks ago, when some flakes stayed on the ground? Well, I’m talking about a proper snow dump. The cars were buried! Can you imagine that? There was so much snow we couldn't go to our family Christmas party! We couldn't even go outside!
|snow in madrid|
Then, a few years ago, there was so much snow that I thought I wouldn't be able to get back to Spain. Soldiers worked really hard clearing the snow off the highways so people could travel.
For me, Christmas without snow is like a birthday without cake. You know it’s a special day, but somehow something doesn't feel quite right. I've spent 27 Christmases in Canada, and I only remember one of them being “green”. That’s what we call a Christmas without snow. We had all of the Christmas cookies baked, carols playing, and my brother and I were in our matching pyjamas, but without the snow, it felt like something was missing. We were worried. Christmas without snow? How would Santa Claus come to our house? How would we make it through Christmas Day with no snow to play in? Christmas will just have to wait, we decided - We need the snow!
But Christmas happened just the same. We had a special dinner and church on Christmas Eve. Santa Claus came in the night, and we opened our presents and visited on Christmas Day, and we saw all of our cousins on Boxing Day. We were pretty impressed – there was no snow, and we had celebrated Christmas anyway!
Do we need snow for Christmas? Or decorations, or songs? What do we really need?
All we need to do is remember that God loves us so much he gave us the best Christmas present ever – Jesus. Instead of being sad when I have a "green" Christmas, like we have here in Madrid, I think of it as a reminder. A green Christmas reminds us of that new little life. And we can celebrate that gift of God’s love by showing our family and friends, and people in our city, that we love them, too, no matter what the weather is.
And if it happens to be snowy, and we do have a white Christmas? Well, that’s just the icing on the cake.