Well, it’s Tannenbaum season again. This German DNA gal has had the gesundheit sneezed right out of her lately. I mentioned on social media recently that I’m tired. Weary tired. Every evening this past week when home from the office, I’ve looked at our ceiling-scraping tree (with a golden angel perched on top) and reminded myself it has no ornaments décor’ing it. A handful of days to Christmas Eve, I’ve taken to humming ♪O Christmas tree! How naked are your branches ♫
I think they may stay naked this year. (Thankfully, the light-fixer thingy we bought re-lit the one dark circle that didn’t respond when we put it up).
Aside from the obvious reasons that it’s just the two of us, Mr. Shammah is still wearing his clunky Transformer-style boot, and we couldn’t begin thinking about Christmas until the 9th of December due to travel – there was a lovely lesson-gift embedded in my tiredness. It began when I woke up one morning this week to white.
A dawn glance at our bathroom skylight turned snowlight proved the 11 pm weather-folk right. It wasn’t snowing when we crawled into bed, but at some point, quiet descended in the form of soft falling snow.
The same majestic God of the big, wide world is such a stickler for being faithful to His beloveds. Regardless of how anyone else greeted the morning snow, I paid attention to how it affected me. I had slept well. I always do when it rains or snows. I don’t hear it – but my spirit, soul, and body respond to the sounds of Heaven. God knew I craved silence. The gift of snowfall was like a blanket being quietly tucked under His child’s chin.
We woke to hushed white tones all around. The wonder of winter is that something so cold can be so regal in its power to command quiet beauty. I have been craving beauty as well. So much of our daily life is consumed by ugly. When it’s people’s lives, it becomes harder to bear unless we surround ourselves with some loveliness.
Creating some loveliness is wonderful. Enjoying someone else’s creativity is wonderful. Then there’s the loveliness that neither I nor anyone else creates. Therein lies the lesson-gift I was handed this week.
A hot mug of coffee over scripture didn’t cover up the fact that O Christmas tree! How naked are your branches! was the refrain still humming in the background. After all, I was seated a few feet away from our white-lit tree, sans ornaments. Random thoughts snowshoe’d through my mind, followed by one I highly suspect came from Holy Spirit himself –
“You’ve been longing for beauty and craving silence. There it is, out your window. My gift to you.”
The day before had been an exceptionally tough one. Some days are like that, aren’t they? My spirit, soul, and body were all engaged, and the result was a need for more than just sleep. Abba Father knew what I needed.
Do you ever claim for your intimate self, God’s gifts of nature that are given to everyone else in the vicinity? One could say, “Oh, it just snowed again, Nancy. It IS December in Spokane. What’s the big deal?”
The big deal is that I look for God’s fingerprints all the time. And there they were. Perfect, silent snow designed to fulfill my longing for beauty and craving for silence. Because He cares for all His children and this child.
We can train ourselves to look for God’s activity in our lives, if we will. If not, we stand to miss many intimate moments that grow our faith, strengthen our spirit, soothe our weary soul, and bring rest to our body.
Wonder is always waiting to be noticed. Appreciated. Received. Rested in.
O Christmas Tree! How Naked are your Branches
After being lost in wonder, O Tannenbaum continues to stand with naked branches in our living room. We have beautiful ornaments I could hang, but I’m going to do something different this year that I’ve never done.
I’m going to leave it be.
Though my soul would thoroughly enjoy the beauty our decorated Christmas tree always provides, my gift of worship back to God this brief Christmas season is naked branches inside in lieu of His glorious display outside that snow-covered morning. It has since rained. (And yes, I slept well again to the unheard rhythm of the rain).
No one need feel compelled to follow suit. Each of Abba’s children are uniquely His and He knows what each one needs. While ours is stripped down this year, I have enjoyed every bit of others’ creativity and Christmas décor this season.
My gift extended is to bless you in your intimate moments of worship with your heavenly Father, who loves you deeply. His mercies – and His fingerprints – are new every morning. I bless you with quiet strength of joy that comes with seeing them. I bless you as you walk out your worship in response to your God of all Wonder.
Merry Christmas, my fellow beloveds ~
~ Gracefully Free
Worship in Christmases past repose in A Christmas Heart
©2019 Nancy C. Bentz – Author’s permission granted to forward this devotional piece in its entirety, including this copyright line. For more devotionals, to leave a comment, or to subscribe to this blog, visit Wellspring of Life