Last Thursday I experienced my first real East Aurora snow storm. From the comfort and warmth of my office, I had a front row seat to observe the unfolding drama. Minutes gave way to hours as the snow fell heavily, without pause. It piled up 14 inches before my very eyes before finally stopping. By the time it was finished our village was transformed into a winter wonderland.
With a travel advisory in effect in the village, the streets were mostly void of traffic. And due to the depth of the snow in the streets, the stray car would be virtually silent as it made its way along. These observations were made from the comfort of the parsonage living room as I contemplated going to sleep, being it was near midnight. Yet as I made my way up the stairs, there was this strong pull on my heart to go outside and experience this wonderland up close. I thought to myself, “Really, a walk in the snow at Midnight?” This thought after watching the 11 oʼclock news and seeing people still stuck in their commutes hours after they left work and hearing of students stuck at school? Yet the pull was undeniable. I decided to heed the call.
One thing I have learned over the years is to pay attention to the “pull on the heart strings,” but did it really have to be at Midnight after a long and busy day in the snow and cold? Couldn't I go out in the morning and experience whatever God had in store for me to experience? I relented to the “pull” in that moment, went back down stairs, put on my gear and headed out into the night.
One word described what I saw. Glory! It was glorious everywhere I looked. A deep, white blanket of snow covered everything. Being close to the holidays, the Christmas lights were on everywhere I walked and even more beautiful covered in snow (see below). But the thing that really grabbed me was the silence- the stillness that blanketed the village as well. There were no snowplows, no traffic and no noise. Just peace and quiet and beauty in the midst of our village that was brought to a halt due to a snow storm. And it was in the midst of this silence that I sense Godʼs presence. It was in the midst of that beauty I sensed Godʼs presence. I felt so blessed that I payed attention to the pull on my heart and took that Midnight walk. It seemed as though heaven and earth were one in that moment.
As I proceeded up Grove Street towards Main Street, the moment passed into oblivion. Two huge snow plows breaking the silence and intruding on my bliss as they dutifully did their jobs so we would be able to live our lives the next day without interruption. While I am thankful we have such snow removal capability and folks who are willing to work such odd hours for our benefit, I felt a touch of sadness for that shattered moment when peace and quiet and beauty gave way to the utility of living life the way we live it. Yet I am forever grateful that God gives us these glimpses of glory and for the opportunities to “Be still, and know I am God.”
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words;