BY DAN KIEHL, Senior Pastor of Oakwood Presbyterian Church
During the winter months I become a fan of meteorologists. I avidly follow their websites, trying to discern when the next big snow storm will hit. Oh, how I love a good snow storm. I can’t rejoice too loudly, because most people associate these events with shivering, slipping and sliding, and shoveling-induced soreness. While I admit that major snowfalls have some downsides to them, they are still one of my favorite events of all that goes on in God’s creation.
I may be in the minority, but I’m certainly not alone. In the insufferably catchy tune that Maria sings in The Sound of Music, some of her favorite things are “warm wooly mittens,” “sleigh bells,” “snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes,” and “silver white winters.” But she doesn’t describe some of the best things about snow:
1. Snow quiets the world – One of the best moments of a snowstorm is right after the snowflakes stop falling. The world is never quieter than it is when it is covered with a blanket of fresh snow. We have so many noises in our lives – demands from our children, rants by our bosses, shouts from advertisements, and the cacophony of electronics and machinery that surrounds us constantly. Quietness is best context for hearing God. Elijah heard the Lord’s voice in a whisper, something he couldn’t hear while all the wind, fire, and earthquakes were going on.
2. Snow slows the world down – To a child there is no parental declaration more precious than the early morning announcement, “Snow day!” Even most adults appreciate the schedule-clearing effect of a major snowstorm. We are way, way too busy in this culture, so snow-covered roadways that cancel school, work, meetings, games, practices, and lessons are good occasional reminders that we need to simplify our lives and make time for the more important things, from an eternal perspective.
3. Snow beautifies the world – Just as a multi-hued sunset, a majestic mountain, and a starry midnight sky can take away my breath, so does a fresh snowfall. In God’s wise providence and artistry, when the creation is in its most stark, bare, and dingy condition, He will lay down a brilliant white covering on the landscape and paint the edges of tree branches and bushes. People who live where it’s always warm and green (or concrete gray) are missing the joy of watching God redecorate His place every few months!
4. Snow is a picture of our redemption – In Scripture, the image of snow is used to give us an inkling of what it means to be forgiven in the sight of our holy God. The dazzling whiteness of the snow is only a pale reflection of the righteousness of Jesus Christ that has been given to us as a gift. Our Lord says to us in Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” We cry out for mercy in the words of David in Psalm 51:7, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Every snowstorm should be a time for reflection, praise, and thanksgiving… we are clean before the Lord!