Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent

According to the calendar, today is the first day of winter here in the United States.  Many of our neighbors have already experienced winter’s fury with heavy snow falls, especially to our west and southwest.  Here in Saint Louis we’ve yet to see a single snowflake.  It looks like any of our kids who are “dreaming of a white christmas” are going to be disappointed.  Actually, according to the TV weather folks, we have less than a 20% chance of snow on Christmas.  Last year was one of those 20%, so it’s not surprising that I’m still looking out my window at green grass.  It is surprising that we’ve had no snow at all so far.  But that could change at any time.

So why do we associate snow with Christmas, especially here in the Midwest?  I guess the whole Santa Clause coming in his sleigh thing must be part of it.  Bing Crosby singing about a white Christmas may be part of it too.  But for many Americans, snow on December 25 just doesn’t happen.  Of course we don’t know for sure what day of the year Jesus was born, but it was decided many centuries ago that December 25 would be the day for the celebration.  Whenever He was actually born, He was born in the Middle Eastern desert so chances are he lived his entire earthly life and never saw snow.

The Holy Family had a hard enough time traveling 80 miles on foot and donkey-back and not being able to find a room.  The last thing they needed was snow.  It gets cold enough at night in the desert.  Given the living conditions 20 centuries ago and the fact that people walked around in robes and sandals, it’s no surprise that God didn’t have His Son be born in the winter in North Dakota.

But the whole white Christmas thing should be a reminder to us that we’re not in charge here.  If you like snow, maybe you’ll get it and maybe you won’t.  But be careful what you wish for.  Snow that’s measured in feet rather than inches causes a lot of problems, especially at a time when so many people are traveling.

As Advent is winding down, let’s give thanks for all the good things in our lives.  In just two days, we’ll celebrate the birth of a Savior.  God’s gift of His son is the greatest gift of all no matter what the weather.

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