I cannot recall a time when it has snowed here before Christmas. As a matter of fact, I don’t think it has snowed before Christmas in my lifetime. But a couple of nights ago in our little town, it snowed. It was only about half an inch. But it was enough to put on the girls’ new pink snow boots, coats, and hats, and go for a walk outside. I just put a coat and hat on over my PJ’s since I didn’t think we’d be out that long. It was dark. The wind was blowing the snow everywhere, and it was frigid. As we walked, we threw little mini snowballs, chased one another around. We made footprints in the snow in all sorts of different ways. The girls laughed and ran around. It was a sweet family moment.
On the way home from out little walk, however, the winds picked up and it started sleeting instead of snowing. The Bean started fussing because her face and hands were frozen and the ice was hurting her cheeks. The Peanut was no longer laughing, talking, and running around, but walking, miserable, complaining of her wet hair and freezing cold hands. And my pajama pants, while flannel, were not enough to keep the frigidity from my skin and so my legs were almost numb.
In those few minutes that it took us to get home, Bloke and I talked about what it might be like if we weren’t walking home but walking homeless…with two small children who were freezing, trying to find a semi-warm or maybe just a sheltered place to stay. What do you say to your child when they’re cold? ‘We’ll be inside soon’ ‘We’ll be home soon’ or ‘in the car soon’ – all of these responses come to mind. Bloke and I realized how grateful we are that our home, while smaller than many submarines, is warm and dry and sheltered and we have it to come to. So many do not.
This sentiment was even further ingrained in my mind when, while stopped at a stop light the very next day after our walk, I saw a man with an “In Need. Please help” sign. It was super cold. I was overcome by the idea that there really are so many people who will be cold and homeless tonight. Some of them will even have children. It’s a grave realization to come out of the bubble of my home and know that as cold as I was on our walk home on that snowy, sleety night, I could go home, and many others could not.
This song reminds me of what our call should be. Where are heart should be. What our mourning should be for. O come, o come Emmanuel! Capture us and save us from the exile here!
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.