"The Father says that He will make our sins white as snow. Not only will He cleanse us of all impurities, but He will also cleanse the earth."
Snow is so peaceful most of the time that it’s hard to imagine its effect on life. The snow falls and nature tucks itself away until spring, wrapped up in a blanket of promise.
Ice crystals form upon contact with dust particles and negative temperatures. Up in the clouds, they start to bump into one another and become small pieces of shimmering sky glitter. This is how snowflakes are formed. Besides the traditional definition of the word, snow in verb form means to mislead or charm someone with insincere words. Interesting. The element can also be misleading.
There have been days when I’ve looked out my window and found an alien world blanketed in silent snow. It seemed safe enough from inside the house, but only when the teacher called for a snow day because their car was sliding off the road, did I recognize the blatant deception of winter’s icy grip. I had a friend like that. They made life seem so effortless and perfect, but underneath the charade, like a tree infested with ants that appears healthy on the outside, lay only sadness and pain.
Snow is beautiful, it allows for togetherness. I’ve spent many a day out in the freshly fallen snow with my family, sledding behind a rickety old Ford down sketchy roads paved with ice, making snowmen 11 feet tall, searching for the perfect Christmas tree, and huddling around a campfire sipping pine needle tea. (It’s good for scurvy). There have also been times when the bone-chilling grip of winter’s bitter wind has kept me locked indoors, a willing prisoner to the comforts of home. I’ve come to realize that sometimes I want a reason to stay where I’m comfortable. Often, I don’t step out into the snow storms of life simply because I’m too scared to step outside of my comfort zone. I stay where I feel secure, expecting others to test the struggles of life for me. Snow can also be uncomfortable.
I love to watch snowflakes fall. They twirl and sparkle as they dance across invisible highways of the air. Eventually, they end their deployment without celebration as they settle amongst their comrades on the frozen earth. The clouds form a solid barricade of dull gray that crosses the great expanse of the sky, stretching as far as the eye can see. My breath appears in billowing clouds of mist that vanish quickly into the frigid air. The few birds brave enough, or too dumb to join their fellows on their migration to warmer destinations, flutter amongst the bare branches of the dark trees in stark contrast to the white sheen of the fresh snow.
Snow brings generosity. When the first flurries of November roll around, eyes that have been frozen shut to the needs of the world around them are suddenly open in a miraculous thaw. They squint in the open, adjusting to the supposed light only to realize that darkness pervades much of the view. A sudden change comes over the person, where once they religiously avoided making eye contact with the homeless man on the corner, they now dig their way through their sock drawer to find an old pair to donate to a women’s shelter. The shelter has another pair of socks, but the homeless man still stands at the corner in his ragged clothes, pierced by the icy wind. At least, that’s what some people do. There are a few who choose not to ignore the pain around them. They cook hot meals, buy supplies, and shovel walkways. They donate their time and care for people inside their community and out. They make it so that the homeless man on the corner is acknowledged and remembered. Snow means Christmas is just around the corner, a time when giving seems essential or mandatory. Snow reminds me that caring for people around us isn’t just a once-a-year burden. It’s an everyday privilege.
No two snowflakes are alike. They are unique and original in design. Each has its own individual composition. When I think of individuality, I think of people. Everyone has their own taste and preference for just about everything. Many times I tend to pattern “my tastes” after the people I look up to. In reality, I shouldn’t pattern my life after anyone on this earth. I should just be following the example of Jesus and have the uniqueness of a snowflake. If I made this adjustment, my identity would be found in Christ and not the world.
Snow is dangerous. Many times I am so distracted by its beauty that I forget how hazardous it truly is. Lives are changed and even lost by one misplaced action, one breach of attention. You have to be alert, constantly surveying your surroundings. Satan tries to trip us up in the same way, he makes the wealth of the world seem so perfect, but it’s only a facade to cover up poverty both physical and spiritual.
Whenever I see snow I am reminded of simple aspects of life. Like snow, life can be beautiful, but don’t let the beauty of the world blind you from your final destination. Snow brings a spirit of generosity to humanity, but that feeling should be a normal aspect of life instead of a new one. The Father says that He will make our sins white as snow. Not only will He cleanse us of all impurities, but He will also cleanse the earth. One day, God willing, we’ll walk the streets of gold in the New Jerusalem and the snowflakes will drift down like the gentle caress of heaven’s breath, and we’ll remember. We’ll remember the sacrifice, the struggle, and the pain, and we’ll all be united by our love of the God who created the snow.
Grace Busch is a senior
at Great Lakes Adventist Academy.