"Words mean more at night, like a song. And did you ever notice, the way light means more than it did all day long?" Gregory Alan Isakov
I have my fingers crossed Virginia will soon chill off for the winter. Though I've been afforded many pleasant moments outside in the temperate fall weather we've been having, the wildness inside me longs for distinct seasons. The cold that turns a grassy mountain into a sparkling diamond wonderland. Excuses to bundle up with heart-felt hand-knit accessories. Burning chests and rosey cheeks, true appreciation for comfy warm shelter from a long winter's night.
And they are long. The fall I hiked I felt I was always fighting nights filled with longer hours. Last fall I ran into that a bit again as my job attempted to cram as many activities into a shortening day as students and staff traipsed through a chilling forest. But this fall, I get up before dawn, sometimes watch the sunrise over Mill Mountain, sometimes soak up afternoon sun, and generally see it set about the time I'd like to sink horizontally onto my bed. It isn't a challenge so much this year, with my more domestic lifestyle. I have a home with electricity, heat, flushing toilets - whole nine yards.
But tonight I walked these city streets and stumbled upon something. Christmas. (quick background) I LOVE Thanksgiving. It has always been a genuine time of fellowship, love, and gratitude in my family where many of us come together across the distance and have a great time. Christmas usually stresses me out. Crowds overwhelm me, hurried/ rude people annoy me, and many of the commercial capitalizing campaigns over the blending of religious and secular calendars just kinda.... weirds me out. So I often tend to get a little Scroogey around Christmas time.
Which makes tonight all the more remarkable.
On my walk tonight I accidentally stumbled onto the most magical street in Raleigh Court, the location of my old home. As I stood at one end of my block and looked towards the scene of over a year of my life, my heart stopped, treasured the scene in my heart, then joyfully relaxed. So many homes were highlighted with multi colored and white lights. Strands of them made archways from houses toward the street, forming a saber-like gauntlet of color, light, and hope.
Bundled in my trench coat, furry boots, hat and scarf I just stood there, basking in the beauty and smiling. On my way home I walked slowly under the arch of lights and sparkling ornaments, underneath a canopy of stars.
And out of all the feelings bouncing around in my heart and head what I mostly felt was - peace. This lovely calm appreciation for all that God is, and the world around me, human kind, community, and the reassurance in the sovereign story etched on our hearts and his plan for our lives.
Relationships come and go. Jobs come and go. Food is here and then gone. Health waxes and wanes. Money seems hard to come by. Life comes and goes. Hopes. Fears.
All met in Thee.
In all of the joy and adversity there is abounding opportunity to see that light in the darkness.
And how lovely it is on a chilly silent night.