No Starbucks today. No beach. No comfy chair. No travelling at all actually at the moment. I do have coffee….my own, and I do have a fireplace…that is actually working, so all is not lost. Outside of my window, we seem to be locked in a snow globe that some persistent preschooler keeps shaking. If I was back on upstate New York right now, this would just be routine for an expected Christmas and we’d be settling in for a few more months of this. But I’m not there, I’m in Seattle where we’re not accustomed to this activity. It’s a novelty. At least it was a novelty when it began over a week ago. It was much like the first few times you shake a snow globe.
The scene changes and the snow swirls and changes the landscape. You set it down on a table and get on your knees for a level “real life” view and watch as the swirl settles down to the bottom to decorate the landscape in sparkling white. It usually only takes a few shakes, at one sitting anyway, for the novelty to wear off. Then it’s time to walk away and find some other Christmas novelty to experience. You’ll come back to it, to be sure, but the novelty only lasts for a bit each time, unless………….you are a preschooler, and you don’t understand novelty. For a preschooler, novelty is reality, and the longer and more persistently one shakes a snow globe, the longer the reality lasts.
So here I sit, in my own globe, caught between my wishing that the shaking would stop and the admiration of the beauty that it creates. I am reluctant to completely give myself over to the novelty turned reality and just enjoy it. By doing so I would relinquish all thoughts as to when this would end and life would become normal again. What if it never does? After all, at one point in the history of the world, in these parts, it began to snow and never let up for, what we’re told, millions of years. They called it the great “ice age” or something. I think that there was even a movie, complete with a sequel.
As I think about such things, with my coffee, in front of my electric fireplace, locked in a snow globe, it is very sobering to realize that I am really not in control of the amount of shaking this Christmas season. It’s not all about me and where I want to be able to drive and when. There are things beyond my control and very limited wisdom. The world continues whether I approve of its direction or not and I’ve not really been consulted about how it all is to take place. I should be grateful. After all, I am trying to lead my community o’ faith in celebration of Christmas and all that it really means. To be honest, If I had been consulted on the plan involving a baby born to peasants in a stable in the middle east, I’d have probably given other advice. It may not seemingly have made too much sense back then, but now I marvel at the profound simplicity and wisdom. And the whole point was to bring peace between God and others like me who would prefer to rule our own worlds and destinies when what we really need is to relax. Perhaps the world, and most importantly, my world, is safer with me locked inside my snow globe letting someone else do the shaking.