Merry Christmas Eve everyone. I had the most beautiful Christmas Eve walk this morning that I would love to share with you. However, I need to back up first to yesterday so you can know just how wonderful it was.
Cape Ann woke up yesterday morning to a sheet of pure ice. Freezing rain had been coming down all night and it had even taken us a long time to get the car door open and the windshield chipped off before my husband could take our youngest, Charlie, to the ER with bad croup in the middle of the night. I got up as quietly as I could to let them sleep and left the house for a class I needed to take so that my son could finally transfer his Colorado Driving License to Massachusetts. I crept to the car over the ice but the main roads weren’t so bad. Getting to the Driving School I slipped on the sidewalk and went down so fast I couldn’t keep my head from hitting the pavement. With a soaked bottom and splitting headache I waited with 5 other parents until we could confirm that indeed the class was cancelled due to treacherous conditions. Determined to salvage the trip I drove to the grocery store to grab a few things only to have my husband call and say that my car, which is our only SUV, had been hit in the Singing Beach parking lot where our oldest son had taken the dog for a walk. The ice was definitely taking its toll and it wasn’t even 10:00AM. It wasn’t how I had hoped to start Christmas, with a headache and whiplash, tired family members and a car being towed away, but honestly I was just happy that we were all okay. Grateful.
So fast forward to this morning, the world was still a sheet of ice, and while I felt a little sheepish tempting fate, I put the dog in the car and drove to one of our favorite places to walk: Cogswell’s Grant, a beautiful historic farm. Their dirt road and parking lot were a sheet of ice as well. I considered turning around but hoped the fields would not be quite frozen so solid. As I literally crept in a crouch over the parking lot toward the fields, my dear friend Caroline, who is a care taker of the farm with her husband, came driving in (no doubt from church to have already started the coffee and bring some cookies. She looked at me for a second and called “You need to get some of these!” She held up a foot and showed me the spikes stretched on the bottom of her boots. Leave it to Caroline, the wisest, steadiest woman of character, who is no stranger to the hard work of a farm, to have something so practical. She offered for me to wear her boots while I walked, and so I sat in her mudroom and exchanged my shoes for hers. I can’t tell you exactly why that simple act touched me so much, but it did. The act of putting on another’s shoes, a friend offering me the safety of their own really touched me. Perhaps it reminded me of Jesus washing the disciples feet and displaying for us how we should care for one another. Church is where I know Caroline from, so this was probably the connection it made for me.
I left her house feeling solid and sure. The fields were gorgeous in their frozen beauty, soaring off to the woods at the edge of the Essex River. It was a paradise I had to myself – quiet and serene. I was so very grateful. As I walked I kept thinking about why her offer had touched me so much, and then it hit me. Even beyond Jesus washing his disciples dusty feet, it was almost Christmas; the time we celebrate that the very God of the universe, gave up the safety and splendor of his power, to put on our humanity in the form of a baby. He did this out of love, the ultimate love and sacrifice. So there is no better way to tell you Merry Christmas than to share this story, and to remind us all that THIS is what we celebrate this time of year. And this act of love is what He did for us and would like us to accept from Him, and in turn give to one another.