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.
This story is from 31 Days of December Peace (soft cover or eBook). Also available from Amazon Kindle, iTunes, and other e-Readers.
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?
Judy Houle says
My sled is my Ginny birthday doll. She served me for many a birthday as a child. A small doll got her majesty from my mother’s home made chiffon cake painted in a pink double-boiled frosting. Mom carefully wrapped the lower half of her body in Saran Wrap and inserted her into the hole that came from cooking the cake in a tube pan. The cake was turned upside down so the shiny pink frosting looked like a beautiful ball gown. On went the candles and the best part of the day was created! Her efforts to make my day special eclipsed the presents I received.
Mom died a little over 4 years ago and at 61 years old, I’m past the cake and candles stage, but my Ginny doll, in her red dress, sits on my dresser as a reminder of those special days made so precious to me by my mom.
She also reminds me of the precious gift of Jesus. No fancy boxes or bows, but grace and love given freely to me, surpassing any material gift I could ever receive. My salvation was made by the pouring out of His redemptive love for me. I am forever awed by a God who rules the universe, yet loves each of us so much that He gave of Himself.
Stanton Lanier says
Dear Judy, thank you for sharing this beautiful story, and for participating in Day 1 of “31 Days of December Peace.” Blessings to you, Stanton
The beautiful State of Maine has plenty of snow ❄❄ for your sled and a sleigh ride! Thank you for sharing your sled story.
Stanton Lanier says
So glad you got to see this Isabel, and for the memories of my concert in Maine! Blessings to you this Christmas, Stanton
Chris Shriver says
Well done Stanton – The story reminds of a lot…..most of all, what to be thankful for and to
cherish…….Cherish the ride that Jesus Christ provides….
Stanton Lanier says
Hello Chris, thank you so much for investing time to read this story and for your encouraging words. I am so glad this was inspiring for you, and I pray God’s blessings over you and your family this Christmas season. – Stanton