Snow Globe: A Reflection for Advent 3

Jesus is born into a real and dangerous world. Neither cozy nor glittery, the Story of Jesus’ birth is powerful and prophetic…

News stories have troubled my spirit during this third week in Advent. We celebrate God-become-vulnerable child even as a 7-year-old Guatemalan refugee dies from dehydration and exhaustion at the border. 

Jesus is born into a real and dangerous world. Neither cozy nor glittery, the Story of Jesus’ birth is powerful and prophetic in its truth-telling about who God is and who we are. And this unabridged Nativity tale is relentless in calling us–the body of Christ–to break through life-denying membranes to birth anew each day God’s justice and peace.

O come, O come, Emmanuel. . .

Reindeer perpetually landed
on the rooftop of the house
inside Aunt Julia’s snow globe.
The little girl on the road out
front never stopped
gazing with beguiled eyes
toward the festive front door,
and I never let the snow
stop rising up and falling
back down inside that dome
while the grownups’ voices
rose and fell all around me.
After all, I held the weather
in my hand and could
orchestrate a tiny
winter wonderland,
dreaming of Christmas Eve
sleigh bells chiming
merry gladness outside
my little yellow bedroom.

Cloudiness now obscures
the cheery panorama
constructed in that globe.
No more swirling snow.
Stalled reindeer.
Magic evaporated.
And the girl?
Toppled over.
Something about her
broken. I shake the globe.
Shake it again. Lie
awake. Keep vigil
for a world trapped
forever in winter.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel…

Author: Jill Crainshaw

I am a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and an ordained PCUSA minister.

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