The weather forecast said that it was going to warm up today. I was counting on that when I drove into Pembroke through the freezing rain earlier this morning. Now as I look outside and check the weather app on my phone, I still see freezing rain and very cold temperatures. The trees outside in the church parking lot are quite beautiful, actually. Their branches are coated with ice causing them to look very weighed down. I only hope there are no weighed down branches resting on the power lines that lead to my house!
The season of winter can be challenging, for sure. Snow storms and ice storms slow us down as school days are cancelled and highway speeds are reduced. This latest ice storm has resulted in many accidents across the State. It is an awful feeling to be in a car sliding on the ice without any visible sign of control, isn’t it?

While none of us likes to drive in dangerous road conditions, I think there is a hidden blessing in winter storms. They make us slow down! When my children were young, I actually liked snow days. Really, it’s true! Some of our fondest memories come from those days when our regular schedules were disrupted because of a snow day, and instead of doing work that day – we had to play! We loved going sledding or making snowmen or ice skating on the pond in our backyard. Of course we would have to follow that with hot cocoa and cookies as we warmed ourselves by the fireplace.

On a normal day, most of us are way too busy. It is ironic how even though we are connected more than ever before … by cell phones and social networks… in some ways we are also more disconnected than ever before. We usually stop to read our text messages, but we rarely stop to tell those we love, that we love them. We rarely stop to feel the snowflakes falling on our face or to marvel at ice covered tree limbs sparkling with rainbow colors in the sunlight. We rarely stop to wonder at the mysteries of God.
It is easy to get off balance with the way we use time. Ask anyone who has lived a long life, and they will tell you that one of the greatest gifts we receive from God is the time that we have been given. If they have any regrets, it is likely over not spending enough of the precious time they had enjoying life with those they loved. I wonder how we might spend our time if we truly believed that every moment of our lives is sacred gift? Might we even spend more time on our relationship with God?
My children are now grown adults, and opportunities for sacred moments of unexpected sledding outings and hot cocoa by the fireplace have passed. But I will always remember these moments, as moments of grace and joyous blessing. I pray you will stay safe in the winter days still ahead of us. And that you will also find time “to play” with those you love most. May you receive the fullness of grace filled moments – on a snow day or any day!
Epiphany blessings to you!
Yours in Christ’s Service,
Reverend Linda C. Hey