Sunday, Second Week of Advent

You desire truth in the inward being;
    therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
    Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
--Psalm 51:6-7

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.
--Irving Berlin


Families are hard. The notion of living 18 years, and probably more, with the same people everyday is hard for me to conceive, despite the fact that I've lived it. Christmas time is especially known for togetherness. While I'm so glad that I've been blessed with a loving family who can spend time with one another on Christmas, some of my family's most stressful moments happened around Christmas time. Whether it was a logistical problem like making sure presents were bought in a timely manner, or something that was brought out in full because of the increased amount of quality time, I have a few memories of Christmas time I'd rather forget.

But what amazes me most about Christmas is waking up and finding how all troubles have melted away. Despite any stressful times in the past few days, there's something about Christmas morning that makes everything okay. It makes everything new. A white Christmas for me means a fresh start. A white Christmas is forgiveness for the pain I've caused others, especially to the ones I love most, and all the mistakes I've made. I need the reminder that I'm not perfect, never will be, and there's nothing I can do to change that, but that it's okay. I need that reminder that Jesus died to make my heart white as snow.

So as I go back home (and brace myself for a 10 hour car ride with my whole family crammed into one vehicle), I know that there might be stress or pain. But I can't wait for Christmas morning, when the dirty, grimy, ground of life will be covered by thick banks of snow.

--Paul Westin '15