Today is a snowy day. It is a day when most streets are quiet, except for the sound of squealing sledders on distant hills. It is a day when the world seems to sigh and rest, and snow falls in clumps from branches, like the arm of a dozing grandpa that falls to his side with his deep exhale. The gray sky and the snowy ground bundle the earth in two blankets. Colors pop up in surprising ways in the grays, whites and browns. Far more regal than the dull inflatable Santa in the yard, cardinals preside over feeders with their majestic reds and blacks, cocking their head as if to say to the world, “You may be seated.” And shiny holly trees wear their white snowy caps and red berries proudly, waving ever so slightly like the homecoming queens of nature’s great snow day parade. Chimneys send their smoke trails to the sky, curling upwards like the trail of prayers that the whole world is whispering to God. There goes the mail truck up the hill, courageously, bringing cards and catalogues to hundreds of people who are hunkered down inside today.
In the cold morning, a man walking up the street with his beagle, his face shrouded by a furry hood, doesn’t know that I can see him through my window as he takes the newspaper from the bottom of her stairs up to the doorstep, his warm breath following him as he comes back down the slick cement stairs again. And in that house, a curtain opens ever so slightly, and Ms. Dottie peeks out, having heard the crunch of steps on the stairs. She and Erik will have a chance to read the newspaper today. Her stroke this year, his bad knees, and a few too many icy steps won’t keep them from their crossword puzzle, thanks to the kindness of another. I bet she smiled seeing the newspaper lying there. I wonder if she even knew the man with the beagle. I point to three-year-old Gracie, who also has been watching the man with the beagle do his quiet act of goodness, her breath fogging up the glass around us. “What a good guy. That was a nice thing he did, and he doesn’t even know we saw him,” I said. “Do you see what I see….” Grace began to sing. “Do you see what I see,” she repeated, the only verse she knows. My mind continued it, giving thanks to God for another glimpse at beauty, “The child, the child, sleeping in the night, he will bring us goodness and light, he will bring us goodness and light.”
Becca Messman is the associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon, Virginia. She leads “Lunch for the Soul” – a ministry with Hispanic day laborers. Her other passions are preaching and offering pastoral prayers, leading retreats, energizing church leaders to serve the community around them, youth and young adult ministry, and cultivating the “fear and trembling” holy journey of parenting. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Dave, her two young children, and her dog Luna.