Mountains of snow move. Kids propel themselves from one snow bank through another. Then snowy footprints track inside the house.
The Christmas of the big snow! Who can forget it? Presents and turkey take a back seat in Kansas in 1967.
One evening late in December we board the Santa Fe’s Texas Chief in Chicago. We wake the next morning to a world of dazzling white.
We leave the train exclaiming, “Where is Grandaddy? He always meets us.”
We enter the station and a phone conversation informs us that Grandaddy’s car is stuck in the snow. A taxi takes us into town. During several hours of waiting at the Osage Hotel we squirm and keep an eye on our watches.
Grandaddy’s neighbor finally plows the driveway and we are rescued from boredom. The translucent landscape beckons as we drive the three miles east of town. The grandparent’s hilly pastureland is waiting in snowy splendor.
Our children, Ben, thirteen, Tim, eleven and Mary four can’t wait to venture out into a sparkling wonderland.
Snowdrifts piled high enough to climb up and slide down greet us outside the back door. No one wants to stay in the house any longer than it takes to dry off and warm up again. Cups of hot chocolate serve as energizing fuel to keep the fun going.
Soon the boys rotate every hat, glove, jacket and boot in the house through snowdrifts and the clothes dryer. First one person than another shares all the dry clothes in the house. Only Mary, in her small yellow snowsuit is limited to her own clothes.
Tim wears his grandma’s long red knit stocking cap. Then later Aunt Pam’s head bobs in the drifts displaying the red knit. When all the stocking caps need drying, hooded sweatshirts take up the slack and furnish some warmth. Snow tunnels, forts and snowmen appear in and between drifts. The children finally let their grandmother borrow her own jacket and hat to come visit one of the snow forts.
To ward off the cold, Aunt Pam ties a scarf across her face so only her eyes show. A scarf is too restraining for the boys. They stay busy digging, building and sliding. They resemble moving snowmen as every inch of clothing becomes caked with snow.
The snow down the hill to the ravine offers a fresh canvas for snow angels. More rolling, romping and sliding finally leaves everyone exhausted. It becomes time to sit in front of the fireplace and gaze wistfully at grandmother’s Christmas tree with presents piled underneath.
The glowing fireplace offers time to ponder Christmas beyond the snow. As we carefully place the nativity figures in the stable on Grandma’s mantle. “Who has baby Jesus?” “Where does the camel go?” “Why isn’t there any snow?” Questions fly around the room.
When we get all of the figures in place we talk about that moment in history. That moment in history when God made himself known in the birth of a baby. We realize that everything in our messy world matters to God. We learn in that event that we matter; we are loved. We can never underestimate the power of love. We celebrate Christmas by saying that life with God is good. As a family we look at this family on the mantle and feel connected to God’s love.