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Yes, as the rain and the snow come from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the Word that goes from my mouth does not return empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in which it was sent to do.

So proclaims Isaiah 55:10

It began with a suggestion of whiteness swirling my neighbor’s roof, then changed its mind with oblong patches hobnobbing its corners. More began sticking on gutters and downspouts. Then it felt like the Great Baker-in-the-Sky was sifting fine flakes of flour that whitened the outdoors: Snow-flowers filled out fan-shaped remains on the branches of my viburnum bushes, snow-trills scalloped the red berries of my six-foot Christmas holly, snowdrifts blanketed the bleached winter grass, and snow-sergeants peaked the tops of my plank fence. 

Within snow’s eiderdown streamed Presence, silence, protection, and a pregnant pause to stop, to pay attention: a show was underway and no one knew its duration.

Such displays, unexpected and stunning, exteriorize the trickling effect of grace in moment-to-moment living.  Even this morning’s gift from my hospice nurse—a snowball!

Like a cunning lover, last week’s snowfall wooed autumn’s dismantling within the rigors of winter: Leafy branches sported white overcoats; spindly shrubs stooped in supplication; fence posts peaked with medieval turrets. A solitary cardinal flashed toward a neighbor’s woodshed, then alighted and preened like a celebrity caught within the blitz of paparazzi. From a snow mound poked the handle of a red wagon. Flurries outlined swirls of breezes that fashioned ghostly images upon the asphalt street and tousled the green muffler flapping around the snowman’s neck nearby. Only random cars moved about.

All was still: Its pregnant hush evoked an OH! The first morning of creation must have felt like that.

Such OHs burst with silence, trip breathing, balloon joy, and open onto the companioning Sacred within our depths. Yet a tinge of sadness lingers in their wake, such OHs! so fleeting and evanescent. Would that we could hold onto them. That being said, we can still watch for them and give thanks when experienced.

And this year, do watch for OHs! around Thanksgiving tables, graced with family and friends. Go beyond well-worn traditions and bring something new: a new dish, a new prayer, a new listening.

“Bidden or not bidden, God is present.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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