My wife, Donna, reminds me occasionally that we don't have autumn in Texas, just fall. One day it's 85 degrees, the next day a "norther" blows through and it's 20 degrees, and on the third day, all the leaves that didn't blow off the trees the day before fall to the ground.

We were blessed this year with an early freeze, so we actually did get color in the trees and enjoyed a beautiful warm autumn. However, two days ago it was in the 80's and tonight will be 20 or less. Last night and this morning, we've had wind, rain, freezing rain, and snow. Winter has fallen on us in Abilene, Texas. In the course of four hours, I watched the temperature drop from 71 to 31. It was cool ... well, chilling, really.

This morning, much of life in Abilene is shut down. We don't need much snow, ice, sleet, or other winter precipitation to send us into a full alert, weather bulletin every ten minutes, panic. Those more familiar with winter find this amusing, I know, but you wouldn't get out on the road with us in these kinds of conditions, either! Folks down here on ice are dangerous.

I am thrilled to have a quiet morning to be stuck in my office at home. Donna fixed us Belgian waffles for breakfast and our daughter slid over from the campus to join us, celebrating all the while that classes had been cancelled. We finally turned our heater on, had coffee, and put a little warm bacon grease on the dogs' dry food and checked on their house — it is warmer inside their house with its heater than it is in our own!

Weather often provides us with needed changes in our neck of the woods. Rain in the summer is a great cause for jubilation. Dust storms send us into a manic frenzy, but generally an indoors manic frenzy. Warm temperatures beckon us to yard work, the golf course, walking, and all sorts of outdoor activities. Heat — not to be confused with warm, but scorching summer heat — makes us universally thankful for air conditioning and sends us to the movies, the malls, the libraries, or our own dens. Spring and fall weather fronts send us running for cover as hail and tornado warnings flash across our TV screens along with our much prayed for rain.

Today, however, a light dusting of real snow with those big wet flakes falling from the heavens — usually the only snow we get looks like dandruff — beckoned me to stay under the covers and do email from bed, have breakfast at home, get some computer work done, and savor this morning as a gift of grace.

At Heartlight, we hope this coming month gives you many moments to savor with your family, with the Lord, and with a pause to take in the wonder and joy of the greatest season change of all, God's dusting of our world with heaven's grace — his coming to our little blue planet in the form of a baby placed in a manger. Winter has fallen, and if we choose to receive it, so has the grace of God!

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth (John 1:14 NRS).

So has the grace of God!

What does Jesus' coming to earth mean to you? I'd love to hear from you and we share our own hearts about the meaning of Jesus' birth!