My wife insists on bringing down the Christmas decorations and starting the process the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t mind. We did the same thing when I was a kid…but not so insistent about it. This year especially it seems early to me, and I always have this lingering feeling of jumping the gun. As liturgical as I would like to imagine myself being, distinguishing Advent and Christmas, it’s just not reality. So we distinguish it in other ways.
The surprise came after the tree was up and lit and the kiddos were starting to place the ornaments. Jack had tried to grab the globes, yelling, “Ba..!!” (Anything spherical is a ball to him). So I grabbed him and carried him around. We walked around the house and then back into the front room. The tree was lit and centered in the picture window, and snow was drifting down in the fading light of dusk. Snow???!!
I yelled “It’s snowing!” And we all ran outside, the kids barefoot and wearing short sleeves, and we circled the yard a few times, and then back inside to drink more hot chocolate and finish trimming the tree.
We live in a world where we try so hard to make our dreams reality, where advertising and culture raises our expectations for everything beyond reason, where dreams are often sweeter than reality, where we must practice and work to give thanks for what is–amidst all this God gave us a Norman Rockwell moment and we didn’t deserve it. We couldn’t expect it, and shouldn’t expect another (why, even? He painted the platonic ideal of America, not even close to reality…or was it?) but thanks be to God! It was a beautiful evening.