One of the first things I decided to do was dissect what it has meant to me over the years. When I was really young, Christmas meant presents. That's what I always thought of. When I grew a little bit older, it started to mean presents and family. Then it changed to presents, family, traditions, etc. It kept evolving but it has only really been the past few years that my list has started to really include Christ. Christmas and the holidays, while presents and family still come to mind, also make me think of my Savior, or worship, or peace and love, of the plan and mission of God and Christ.
I think one of the best ways for me to explain this change is to talk about snow. Yes, I'm totally serious. Snow. I love the snow. I've heard many people talk about the different things that show them that God loves them. Sometimes it's a sunny day, sometimes it's a warm feeling inside, sometimes it's a rainy day, etc. I've definitely felt God's love from such situations, but for me, I know God loves me when it snows.
As I've mentioned before in my blog, I deal with depression. My depression can pop up throughout the entire year, but is most prevalent in the winter months. So I guess you could call it seasonal depression.
The reason snow means so much to me is because when I was in some of my darkest moments, when I felt the most alone, because it happened so often in the winter, I would just sit and watch the snow fall. It was comforting. Snow is quiet, but alive. Watching it fall so quietly, so softly, so gentle made me think of God and Christ. While I often felt so alone in my depression, watching the snow made me feel that Christ was there with me. I wasn't alone. And God was using the snow to show me that even in the hard times, when the world was cold and life was bitter, there was a quiet beauty in the world, and you just had to learn to sit back and find the beauty in the storm.
Snow, unlike rain, doesn't just wash away. Snow blankets the earth, protecting it under its layers. Blankets have long been a source of security for me. Even as an adult, while I don't carry a blanket around with me, when I go to bed at night, or am watching a movie, having a blanket over me helps me feel safe and calm. Watching the snow fall also gives me a sense of safety and calmness.
I love the whiteness of snow. It's so beautiful and makes the world so bright. Even at night, the light from the moon is reflected off of the snow lighting up the world, and the brightness is even more-so during the day when the sun shines. It also makes everything look so clean and pure.
One thing that happened last year during the winter is that ice would cover my car each night, so in the morning, I'd have to scrape my car before leaving. Usually it's a pain, but last year I noticed that the ice made beautiful patterns on my car. All you had to do was look closely. I took some pictures of some of the really pretty designs:
Happy holidays everyone! And whether you like the snow or not, celebrate the life of Christ this season, and remember you're never alone and God always loves you.