It's December.

My dear readers, the countdown has begun--we officially have only 21 more sleeps until its Christmas Day and my excitement cannot be contained! Therefore, as a blogger who sometimes lacks inspiration and creative ideas, I decided to write about this well anticipated burst of enthusiasm. So picture this: I am currently wearing a turtleneck (go ahead and laugh, I find them oddly cozy haha) and I’m sitting in the library by a window that gives me a perfect snapshot of the wintery weather outside; my warm cup of coffee is to the right of my laptop and Pandora Christmas music quietly enters my daydreams via the headphones placed on my ears. The holiday season has consumed my thoughts and Dordt’s sudden, picturesque appearance has definitely added to this takeover effect. No joke, within just one weekend this campus has turned into a winter wonderland that any Christmas carol would be jealous of — it’s like living in a snow globe.

Yet there was a momentary hint of blue sky, and even this bit of light was enough to release a flash of diamonds across the wide landscape, so oddly disfigured by its snowy adventure. Usually the snow stopped at that hour of the day, as if for a quick survey of what had been achieved thus far; the rare days of sunshine seemed to serve much the same purpose— the flurries died down and the sun’s direct glare attempted to melt the luscious, pure surface of drifted new snow. it was a fairy-tale world, child-like and funny. boughs of trees adorned with thick pillows, so fluffy someone must have plumped them up; the ground a series of humps and mounds, beneath which slinking underbrush or outcrops rock lay hidden; a landscape of crouching, cowering gnomes in droll disguises— it was comic to behold, straight out of a book of fairy tales.
— Thomas Mann

Over the past three days, pure, white snow has continuously fallen at a blissful pace; completely camouflaging all imperfections with holiday cheer and peace. For some of you this concept might seem contradictory and confusing, due to my previous post Surviving Snow; however, let me point out two major reasons of why this frosty weather is still a beautiful thing to me:

1. Wind and extremely freezing temperatures have yet to make an unwelcomed appearance (knock on wood).

2. Snow is actually a glorious and welcomed decoration, but only in the month of December; any time after that I could really go without (*this opinion does not apply in mountainous regions, because that’s a whole different situation. Reason: snowboarding, snowmobiling, skiing, etc.); which I kind-of mentioned in the snow survival blog, but this clarification was probably needed.

Also adding to this storybook effect, is the beautiful decorations that have aesthetically graced the Dordt College campus with the twinkling of lights and reflections of ornaments. During Thanksgiving break, the maintenance crew transformed campus into a Christmas card by adorning trees with lights and filling classroom buildings with fake evergreens and wreaths; and as a result, has provided students with holiday merriment, relaxation, and encouragement even with finals just around the corner. An exam anxiety reliever is just one insignificant result of holiday cheer; however, another applicable example would be finding the strength and endurance to continue after events like the San Bernardino shooting occur. Isn’t it crazy how even amidst the strife, stress, and sadness of this world, one day out of 365 has the inevitable power to ignite hope in the hearts of the broken and shed light to darkest of corners? It’s truly a Christmas miracle!  

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace good will towards men!
— Luke 2:14

**PLEASE READ: The undeniable truth found in Luke 2:14 perfectly applies to what I’m trying to depict with this blog post and is honestly what I find to be the ultimate definition of Christmas. December brings about a whole flurry (literally haha) of emotions and often these feelings can be significantly affected by worldly satisfactions, distractions, and activities. I know this may sound cheesy and basic, but as Christmas Day quickly approaches, seriously try to remember the real reason for the season. These next couple of weeks will be packed full with a whirlwind of activity, but take time to remember that the greatest gift of all was given late one night, hundreds of years ago. This precious token came in the form of a tiny, baby boy, but was so miraculous that peace transfixed humanity and the heavens declared praises; because at last, death was en route to having no significance or power over God's people- can you imagine that? If not, some night when it’s lightly snowing, bundle up and go outside. Raise your head and look up at the stars that surround you; embrace the silence that envelops you and just bask in the glory displayed before your very eyes. The heavens are continuously proclaiming “Glory to God in the highest!”, but the busyness of life has removed all recognition and appreciation for this everlasting song. So my challenge for you during this holiday season, is to find God in the craziness of finals, traveling, decorations, gift exchanges, and family gatherings. Take time to go outside, acknowledge God’s intricate handiwork (even the wind and cold temperatures haha), and look up!

Happy holidays & peace with you!