A couple days ago, my region was pounded with quite a snow storm. Apparently, it was the biggest/most intense storm Iowa has seen–in nearly 20 years. Everything shut down- restaurants, businesses, public transportation, everything…even giant- chain stores- gave in to the freezing temperatures and the drifts that continued to climb higher and higher. Wished for or not–everyone from young to old got a snow day. For a brief 24 hour period humanity, society, agendas, to-do lists were not in control. Not at all. It was no one’s fault, it just simply could not be helped. Finally, after the snow plows were allowed back on the road people began to slowly emerge and pick up their daily lives.
I was driving home tonight and noticed something about the houses looked a bit different. I slowed down a bit and realized it was the Christmas lights. Under piles of dense, white snow the lights pour forth in a soft and silent glow. Not too overpowering, but not dim enough to be completely ignored.
I know–it’s Christmas time, lights and decorations are expected to be seen outside. But, there’s something that always gets my attention when the little lights are covered with snow. The lights have been present–but something beyond human control brings out the glow.
Maybe, it has something to do with the night. During the day the only thing we can see is a snow-covered bush or tree, and lawn ornaments barely poking out from the drifts. The roofs of houses are lined with awkward green and white strings with tiny glass bulbs…not much for the eye to see.
But at night–when other things become difficult to see, the lights become a bit clearer. We often prefer the day’s sun to the night sky, but so much is missed. This doesn’t mean something is missing-or absent-but we can miss them, overlook, or even ignore.
A light shines in the darkness-but the darkness has not understood it.
Sometimes I wonder how often we simply turn on an overhead light when Christ is pouring forth in the darkness. We would gladly choose a flood light or a street lamp to guide our path–but maybe the point is not actually the “getting there”…maybe we’re supposed to wander down a snow-covered street–lit only by tiny twinkling lights. Maybe we’re supposed to see more with the little things than one giant revelation from a street light. And maybe sometimes we need those transcendent reminders–such a giant blizzard-we need something beyond our control to carefully adjust our focus to things we’ve been previously overlooking.
The snow storms might not simply cover something up. Sometimes they might actually make the lights just a little bit clearer.