…is the thing to say on a bright Floridian Christmas day! That’s the Gulf-coast greeting that we send to you from the land where palm trees sway!” Okay, so I took a little poetic license with that Bing Crosby tune, but it fits, I tell ya, it fits!
It still boggles my mind, even after living here for three years, that it’s December and I’ve got my whole house open to the 70 degree temps and fresh sunshine. There really are palm trees swaying in my front and back yards – incredible! This Texas-girl-turned-Floridian-via-Iowa, has known her share of ice-laden Christmases and Christmases adrift in the snow, but this type of Christmas is a little different. You sort of have to manufacture a Christmas look; hence the palms wrapped in lights and the multitude of inflatable holiday yard “art”.
At first, it kind of bothered me. While I LOVE the weather during the winter here (as I don’t really relish being cold), I did miss the Christmasy feel of a “real” winter and the beautiful landscape it presented for the holidays. However, it came to me during a particularly wistful day that, really, the Christmas feeling doesn’t have anything to do with the weather. At least it shouldn’t. It’s so much more a condition of the heart.
My friend, Pat, penned a phrase in a recent post that has been resonating with me ever since.
“The nativity cannot be separated from the crucifixion.”
Truly, the one happened to usher in the other, a glorious opening paragraph to the greatest life story ever told…a story whose ending wasn’t an ending at all, but an extraordinary, miraculous beginning for the rest of all mankind.
Whether snow flies or palm trees sway, the Christmas feeling starts with a return to Bethlehem and a journey following the footsteps of a babe-turned-man on His way to Calvary. It’s an inward pilgrimage that depends not in the least on the forecast.
So, today, as the mild breeze gives the palm trees and me a gentle caress, I turn inward to find myself on my knees before a manger on a cold desert night, the Christmas feeling warming my heart.
Come to Kansas…where we had snow most of the morning yesterday, ice later in the afternoon as the snow melted and our temps hit 8 degrees above zero!
More importantly is that I have a thought resonating in my heart also from Elaine at peace for the journey. “Entrance at the stable and the exit at calvary.”
Christmas — a condition of the heart… One that definitely requires a journey to Bethlehem… A journey God will always bless.
Loved this post.
Christmas is about the gift that God gave each and everyone of us, his precious son.
We are truly blessed.
Love your thoughts today. They melt my heart. I’m so very tired and having some physical issues right now. Fighting to stay afloat. I’d love to visit your palms and imagine alongside you that Bethlehem night. Indeed, one cannot separate the manger from the cross. Both confined the son of God in his wood. I don’t think by accident.
peace to you this night. Trying to find my silence accordingly.
As I’ve aged, it takes little more than a Christmas carole and cinnamon scented candle to bring tears. I’m with your buddy Pat; I can’t think of His coming without considering the “why?” of it, and where it ultimately lead.
Yes, we must separate the secular from the sacred, especially at Christmas. Was snow flying outside that manger? Did Mary & Joseph celebrate the very first Christmas at home?
You are so right in saying "it is an inward pilgrimage that depends not in the least on the forecast." Thank you for sharing.