Facebook recently instituted a welcome (or not-so-welcome) feature that brings up photographs and memories from prior years. Consequently, knowing that snow amply covered the ground at this time last year and the year before is inescapable. Last year, we were in the midst of a two-day electrical outage, caused by heavy, heavy snow that broke tree branches, which subsequently pulled down wires.
Today, we look out at the muted palette of light green, red, brown and grey colors. A couple of foolish narcissus have dared to stick their heads above ground and a few lilacs have started to bud. Up on the mountain, people have sighted bears on Superstar and Ovation. The ursine creatures have got to be rather confused by these warm temperatures.
We want to think that this December warmth is something new, yet we can remember back to the winter of 2011-2012, when December’s snows got off to an equally late start. Then there are the winters back in the early 1980s, when we could play golf on a frozen golf course because there was nothing else to do.
Meanwhile, the Christmas-commercial holiday season careens forward, snow or not. We may not have the “White Christmas” for which so many yearn, but the stores started decorating with fake snow back before Halloween. We dodge bell-ringers in front of the stores and some of us plug our ears to escape the “holiday” music.
Midst all the confusion, life continues quietly at Church of Our Saviour, Mission Farm, where we observe a season between the end of November and Christmas Eve called Advent. Advent is a time of preparation, introspection, quiet meditation and reflection. We have not yet put up the Christmas decorations or put out the poinsettia, nor have we started to sing Christmas carols. We have 12 days starting on Christmas and ending on January 6 to enjoy all these treasures of the Christmas season.
The lack of snow does not bother us as much either because the bare fields remind us of all the bulbs beneath the fallow ground that will pop up in the spring. The shortness of days, as we approach the winter solstice, make us appreciate light all the more — whether it be artificial, candles, sunlight or the Light that comes into the world, the Christ. The seasons turn, we enter more deeply into winter, but we also know the relief when we pass the winter solstice.
We welcome all wayfarers to share some of the quiet that Mission Farm has to offer. The town of Killington has graciously provided trail signs for those who wish to walk in our woods or down by the river. The trails (and church) await you and can provide you with a moment of quiet before you plunge back into the confusion of holiday preparation.
Of course, you are also welcome to join us on Christmas Eve for our two services (4 and 10 p.m.) and Christmas Day (10 a.m.) when we celebrate the true reason of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ.
“Musings from Mission Farm” is an occasional reflection on life in the valley on the Sherburne Flats. Church of Our Saviour (Episcopal) has ministered to the Killington region since 1894. The Rev. Lee Alison Crawford serves as its pastor and also volunteers as a Mountain Ambassador at Killington. All are welcome to worship with us Sundays at 9:30 a.m.