Click above to listen to In the Bleak Midwinter as you read. This piano-English horn duet is from 2009 Best Holiday Album December Peace (ZMR Awards, winning over Enya and Yo-Yo Ma). If you enjoy, please consider sampling and ordering the CD, MP3 Album or sheet music. You can also listen and download on iTunes and all other digital outlets.
Where could you use some “December Peace” today?
The Sled ~ by Stanton Lanier (Copyright 2012, not to be re-published without permission)
Cypress Road was packed with fresh fallen snow in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I could see it through the big living room window of my childhood home. The temperature was just below freezing. School was closed. My tummy was full with a vitamin fortified Kaboom cereal breakfast. All my “Mt. Everest” gear was in place. It was another dream winter morning for a nine-year old. Cypress Road. One hundred yards long with a perfect twenty degree slope. Another downhill sledding adventure was about to begin.
This unforgettable scene happened many times during my elementary school years. It was a treasured experience. So much so that a full body length sled was at the top of my wish list for Christmas 1974. The gift appeared and was all I had hoped for. A Gladding Champion Fastback. Sixty inches long, three strips of polished hardwood, painted for speed (including speedometer) and shiny red runners.
Every day after Christmas I waited… January… February… March… April… no snow. I couldn’t believe it! My sled dream had come true, but the snow never came that winter. The following summer my dad took a new job in Pensacola, Florida. As my eleventh birthday approached, I wondered “Is this really happening?!” My new sled and I were moving to the Florida panhandle! That was a long time ago. The Gladding Champion Fastback is now stored in the basement, still gliding through life with me. The glamorous adventure he was born for has ended up being a humdrum existence. A historic two inch snow at our house in Milton, Florida only resulted in a drag across the flat front yard. A few times “Champ” has coasted down some small slopes when we have had ice and snow in Atlanta or north Georgia, where I have lived most of my life. But for the most part, it just rests in storage, waiting to deliver pure joy with a long, downhill run.
Every December when I see my sled, I still long for that joy ride. But I am also reminded that no earthly possession will ever bring me the joy that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.
What is your sled? Do you treasure Christ above all earthly treasures?