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Winter WarmthPosted Thursday, January 19, 2012, at 8:58 PM
By Rayla Stewart Hogue
Special to the Daily Statesman
The holidays are over. The glitter of Christmas has been taken down or is in parts and piles waiting to be stored. The days are colder, shorter, darker, and feel gloomy. Life takes on an overcast look and feel.
The sky is leaden and soon snow begins to fill the air and cover the land. At first it is beautiful, icing the tree limbs with such delicacy and beauty; outlining buildings and fences along the way. Animals move slowly to places of warmth out of the snow and wind, preparing to slow the pace of life, drawing close to those about.
People prepare by stocking up groceries from the stores, filling fuel tanks, making certain their homes are prepared and stocked for the storm. Everything seems to grind slowly toward a halt.
In the midst of the storm, all grows quiet and still. The world is listening, breathing slowly, quietly, anticipating . . . waiting.
Once the storm has blown out its fury toboggans, sleds, skis, and snow shoes appear. Hot drinks, hot soups are prepared. Coats, mufflers, mittens, and boots are donned as the new world of snow is explored, embraced, and enjoyed.
In one town everyone gathered in the side yard of the church. It was built on a hill. The road on the side was the highest point in town with a straight run down the street for blocks and blocks--ultimately all the way to the river. They had brought their sleds, snow discs, toboggans, and cross-country skis. With one person at each street crossing, they took turns blasting down the hill, trying to outdo each other on the length of their runs.
Their laughter and squeals filled the town's air with joy. More and more people joined--some going into the church to warm up, while others continued to play. Warm dishes of soups, casseroles, sweets, and other good things to eat began to grace the tables. Before long it seemed as if the entire town had gathered to play and eat, or just enjoy the conversation and comfort of other people. The church had become the heart--the gathering place of the community.
In the midst of the darkness of life--the valley, God waits. Waits for us to draw close; to realize that God is the light, warmth, strength upon which we draw when we are down. No matter how dark the circumstances, God waits, holding the warming light of hope and love.
God, help us to draw near to you, to recognize your strength and wisdom in all the circumstances of our lives. In the dark blues of our lives, the warmth of your love beacons and draws us to you. So be it. Amen.
If you have questions or comments check her blog at dailystatesman.com or email her at email@example.com. Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, writer, musician, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). İRayla Stewart Hogue
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.