IMG_2781“I’m dreaming of a brown Christmas….” If that were the case, I’d probably be in luck this year. Three days ago billowing clouds of dirt blocked out the sun and turned the afternoon sky a dark, hazy, brown as 40 mile per hour winds tore across the plains lifting layers of dry silted topsoil into the air, reducing visibility to almost zero, and creating extremely hazardous driving conditions. The view from my front windows looked just like pictures I have seen of the dust bowl days of the 1930’s as prolonged drought and high winds have created similar weather conditions. Looking at my Christmas lights flapping loose in the wind, I thought how much I would prefer the sight of clean, white, snow covered fields to brown skies and high winds.

IMG_2788A recent issue of Countryside magazine boasted this article title on the cover, “Know Your Dirt – Secrets to Healthy Soil”. Walking along the fence lines after the storm, the article title drew my attention to the particles that comprise the very foundation beneath my feet– attention I rarely give to the ground on which I daily tread unless I am preparing the soil for spring planting. As I walked, I was amazed to see how the wind can rearrange topsoil in only a few hours to form soft mounds that cover the bottom of the fence line and pile against the posts as if the fence has been there for years. Inside my house, everything is covered with a fine layer of sand despite my efforts to seal windows and doors against the intruding dirt. It is strange how those tiny particles seem to cover so much surface area so quickly.

The dirt and the article title have me wondering how well I know the dirt that lies scattered across the foundation of my heart – dirt to which I rarely give much thought or attention. I like to think my life resembles the clean, white, snow covered fields pictured on the magazine cover rather than dirt laden skies and blowing dust of West Texas. However, I know that the ‘secret to a healthy soul’ cannot be completed discovered until I ‘know my dirt’. Until I know the depth of the dirt within in my own heart, until I look and really see how my own sinful nature seems to filter into every corner of my life and cover all my good deeds, until I see how it distorts, intrudes, and envelopes, I will never know how much has been cleaned away and how much I owe to the one who doesn’t just cover the dirt, but washes it away.

And so, this Christmas as I listen to songs about snow covered fields, sleigh bells, and the beauty of Christmas I will remember the dirt – dirt that is gone because Christ came into this world to die and with his blood cleanse and remove forever… my dirt.