Most of the year, our lives are somewhat the same. We are moving along day to day, working, living, and moving on a somewhat predictable path. Not a lot of pause for change or reflection, for me, my memories are tucked away, too busy to be called to the forefront. If you lived in a snow globe, you might say your life and path were fairly unshaken. Then, the weather cools a little, the leaves change and the temperature drops, and I feel Holiday mode approaching. It's like I bumped the Curio cabinet, and the snow globe has a little swell, no storm, just a little stirring of the waters.
I unpack the fall decorations, pumpkins and squash and apple candles, mums and hazelnut creamer for the coffee, and oops, here comes a memory, unbidden.... A young mom raking leaves in the yard with her boys. It's cold in Kentucky already, we experience a real fall and we are all laughing..the snows globe is bumped again. Focus, Heather, ..move forward, too much to do for memories today.
It settles a little.
Then, it's Thanksgiving, The platter comes out, memories of the friend from which it came, memories of our second dinner at Aunt Gladys' house when I was a kid (She was a marvelous cook!), of Daddy carving the Turkey, or Mom making us dress up for dinner, memories of my mother in law teaching me how to make greens, my friend Debbie teaching me how to make deviled eggs, of our first Thanksgiving...and they just keep coming. It's happened...the snow globe has been shaken, what started as a gentle snow has become stronger and I can't even see the quiet scene inside. It takes me a minute to find my way again... The forward focus has been clouded by swirling snow and I'm disoriented. One uninvited, but eagerly received memory brings another, and another...
Thanksgiving is over and I go ahead and bring the snow globes out of the cabinet and place them around the house. They are calm again, but this time, it's the calm before the storm.
Now, It's time for Christmas. As decorations come out, the cards start coming, the carols are played, the familiar scriptures are read, the memories come in droves. Our ornaments tell a family story, children's first Christmases, of art projects so proudly presented, of places we've lived and people we've loved. I see stockings filled and emptied too many times to count, a nativity scene that my parents started over 68 years ago, an ornament my husband and I hold close because we were never able to hold it's namesake, a lighted palm tree in the front yard, a new tradition. Our children and their spouses tell of new traditions and I see grandchildren experiencing our memories through fresh eyes for the first time. It's a blizzard, I'm lost in the snow globe snow. The swirling memories are wonderful, chaotic, unnerving, priceless, and with them come tears, laughter and many other emotions that I try to keep in check all year long.
In all of the chaos and clutter and swirling of emotions, we know that a snow globe does not stay swirling forever. For every snow globe, calm follows a storm. For us, it comes on Christmas Eve. The last sermon has been preached, the family preparations are made, the orange cinnamon rolls are ready for the morning and whether it's two of us or 13, the snow globe calms and focus returns. I think of Advent, the time of preparation for the birth of Jesus, Our hearts are being prepared for the birth of the one who was born in the manger so long ago. Advent is a journey...Along the way, there are unexpected turns, twists and challenges that bring us to our destination. For me, it is a heart full of joy for the life that has been given to me, and made right by the baby born so long ago. It is acknowledgement of His loving care, tender mercies, time of provision, times of comfort and incredible joy.
The year is almost over now, the snow globes are all calm, there will be a few swells of memory tonight. The globes will be the last decorations to be put away for this reason: the beautiful calm scene, the peace and strength we have to move forward has been crafted by the swells, gentle snowfalls and blizzards that are my life.
So, if you feel a little uneasy during the holidays, find a snow globe and embrace the snow globe effect.
Happy New Year!