The Twelve Blogs of Christmas: Eleventh Day – Keeping the Pipes Warm

Wow it’s been cold! OK, here in the metro DC area it hasn’t been like record cold – just cold. Cold enough for snow cold. But I know in some parts of the country it’s been absolutely frigid. At 40 below zero it doesn’t matter what temperature scale you’re using. Celsius or Fahrenheit, 40 below is the same. What does that feel like? I don’t know for certain, having never experienced it (although my husband did when he was flying to Alaska in the winter), but I feel fairly safe in saying that it’s freakin’ cold.

I know that I was headed toward a potential asthma attack just cleaning off the car yesterday morning. Of course, I could have used my inhaler – I don’t want to get too dramatic here. But it was that kind of cold. And it remains pretty cold. Long johns cold.

I love this weather. I love it as long as I have heat and sweaters and hot things to drink. I’m well-aware that not everyone is this fortunate.

Twenty-year-old and I were out and about last night, and she brought up a time when we had no power for three days once in the summer. We spent the time going to movies (where we could find open movie theaters – the power was out over huge swaths of the metro area) and going to other places where we could stay cool. Daughter said to me that she’d rather lose power in the winter than in the summer, because you can always put on more blankets. I told her I’d rather lose power in the summer, because I grew up without air conditioning (well, until I was seven, anyway), and it’s not too hard to fan yourself, but bad things happen when the pipes freeze.

Daughter hadn’t considered the pipes freezing. Of course, Daughter hasn’t had to even pay her own rent yet, so these things haven’t been a concern for her yet.  She saw my point once I explained it. And bad things don’t just happen to houses.

To be sure, there are people who die from the heat. Extreme weather at either end of the spectrum is dangerous. Even more people are vulnerable to the cold.

In this day and age, I think it’s shameful that there are people who don’t have a place to go home to at night. Here we are celebrating Christmas, and we romanticize the Luke birth narrative in which Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem and Mary gives birth in a stable. Even a stable is indoors and sheltered, and yet we are clearly meant to know that Jesus was of humble birth.

How many people are sleeping rough tonight? How many children don’t even have a stable to lay their heads?

I’m not a great housekeeper. My house is usually messy. But it’s warm. It’s safe. The pipes aren’t frozen. I have plenty of blankets. I’m fortunate.

May we all be safe and warm during these cold nights. May we be thankful for the blessings that we have, and may we be inclined to visit those blessings upon others.

That’s all I’ve got. That’s my mite.

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