We were lucky enough to spend a few days in Florida last week for a long-anticipated family trip to “Harry Potter World” in Orlando.
It was, indeed, magical.
For the girls, much of that magic centered around being immersed in an interactive version of the Harry Potter universe. They got to wear Hogwarts robes, wave wands, and try butter beer at the Leaky Cauldron for themselves.
For parents, the creativity and attention to detail in the theme park were certainly fun, but the deepest magic was different. It was the magic of being together as a family in that narrow window when the kids are finally old enough to remember the trip, but still young enough to want to hold our hands through the airport. It was also the magic of throwing off our winter coats and trying to find our sunscreen in the middle of January — which is to say, the magic of stolen freedom, escaping weather and routines, and getting to be passengers instead of pilots for just a little while. It was the magic of seeing the girls amazed to learn that their mom, among her many accomplishments, is also a pretty good bowler — only to have their amazement redoubled at discovering that at this bowling alley, anyway, the waiter brings french fries right to your lane.
It’s fascinating how life teaches us what is truly magical, isn’t it?
It constantly reminds us just to be attentive, and sweep out the cobwebs that keep us from seeing what is around us.
There is so much wonder in our lives that we get too immersed in our daily routines and responsibilities to notice.
God is so very good to us in such unassuming and beautiful ways.
May these days find you well and able to see some of that goodness near to hand in your own life today.
See you in church,
It seems as if winter is gunning its engines in earnest now.
Soon the boots begin to take over the front hall, and the jaunty little hat that keeps off the chill will be replaced with the Nanook-wear that embarrasses even your adult children, and it will turn out that at some point between last March and now, somebody swiped the good scraper out of your trunk.
No talk of evening events for a few weeks — unless maybe it’s about catching the midnight flight to Bora-Bora.
It really is only a few weeks. Let’s make a pact to remind each other when necessary.
And we all know there really is a lot of beauty in these weeks, too. Let’s not forget that.
Every time I take the dog for a walk in winter, I can feel his delight. He porpoises through every snowbank, tumbles gleefully along the ice, strains at his leash like an Iditarod contender.
I don’t know what it is about winter, in particular, that animates him this way, but it seems as if the familiar, encountered in a stiff wind and coated in snow and ice, surprises him — and it’s his nature to be pleased by surprises.
It’s not so much ours, or anyway, mine. But I am the poorer for that, I know.
Maybe winter is a chance to try again. To feel a fuller creaturely delight in Creation.
Like it or not, we stand at the top of the steep ski jump into another year.
Where are you being called to find a fuller delight these days? What new thing might be seeking to embrace you?
After all these years, how might the most familiar parts of our lives turn out to be full of strange, new magic?
Whatever this winter holds for you and for me, may we always remember that God holds us in the palm of His hand.