Let It Snow!

Quite a few readers of the Spiritual Oasis live in the northern United States and Canada. Many others live in the balmy southern states. Some will really have to use their imaginations to appreciate this post. Others have already seen several snowfalls this year. Some haven’t seen snow for years and don’t plan on seeing it for years to come. Here in the mid-Atlantic region we’ve not yet had our first snow, but it’s been so cold the past couple of days it’s made me think it can’t be long in coming.

snowy-backyard-by-bill-williams-2.JPGSome believe that snow-filled-skies produce a veritable winter wonderland. For others, the piles of small white ice crystals are a prolific powdery pestilence. When a single snowfall measures 36 inches, as it did in my neighborhood a couple of years ago, I tend to line up with the pestilence party.

When snow comes in abundance I tend to reflect on its biblical significance. (Perhaps this just means that snow days leave me with far too much time on my hands.) During these times I have learned what I believe to be some interesting things that I’d like to share with you.

According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, snow is common in Palestine during winter. The snow-covered peaks of the Lebanon range are visible almost year-round. In ancient times, snow was transported to Tyre, Sidon, and Damascus as a luxury. Harvesters, laboring in the hot fields used it to cool the water they drank (Proverbs 25:13; Jeremiah 18:14). It is likely Herod Antipas, at his feasts in Tiberias, enjoyed the modern luxury of ice-water from this very source. Snow is also frequently used figuratively in the Scriptures. A couple of examples are:

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. —Psalm 51:7

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” —Isaiah 1:18

As I reflect on snowy days, several important lessons have come to mind. Among these are:

#1) The paradox of purity— Reflecting on the words of Isaiah makes me realize that only God could have worked this out. Scarlet-colored, sin-stained souls are purified by the scarlet-colored, sin-free blood of Jesus Christ. Thus cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, sinners are made whiter than snow. Wow! With David, we can confidently cry out to God, “Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”

#2) The value of preparedness— Even though we usually get ample warnings when major storms are approaching, many are still ill prepared. Although I had made a grocery run the day before the last big storm arrived, there were a few items that I wanted to purchase. When I arrived at the parking lot at the shopping center in my neighborhood very early on a Sunday morning, I could not believe my eyes. Scores of drivers were zig-zagging between snowplows, automobiles and pedestrians in search of the rare, open parking space. Utter chaos reigned inside the grocery store. It seemed as though everyone was making their last minute preparations at the same time! More than an hour later I emerged with the few items I’d gone after to find the car blanketed with nearly six inches of snow. Argh!!

The lesson is obvious, isn’t it? We have been given ample notice to be well prepared for the ultimate appointment we must all keep. Hebrews tells us all people are destined to die once, and after this comes the judgment. No long sermons here—just a reminder: We need to be prepared!

#3) The importance of being in the presence of God with His people— Although snow storms seldom necessitate the cancellation of our regular worship gatherings, this has happened a couple of times since my family moved to Delaware. Sundays with gathering with brothers and sisters for worship are just plain weird, aren’t they? Most of us can count on one hand the number of times weather has caused a cancellation of worship services. When this does happen it helps us appreciate what a special privilege we’ve been given to gather with people of like precious faith and offer up the fruit of our lips in praise to God. It is good to be in the presence of God with those who share a desire to lift-up the name of Jesus—not just for the blessing we receive, but, also, for the blessing we impart.

What other lessons have you learned from this prolific powdery pestilence, I mean snow?

© Bill Williams, October 25, 2006

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Christian Living, Following Jesus, Kingdom Living, Life. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Let It Snow!

  1. pam says:

    I remember a time when it snowed here in Texas. I was teaching 2nd grade at the time, and fortunately, I had a window in my classroom. Within 5 minutes of the snow descending, the entire school was abuzz with activity. My own son was in his 3rd grade classroom. This was the very FIRST time he would have been able to see and experience snow.

    What a wonderful, almost magical happening as the gentle fall of ice crystals surround you and the ground becomes blanketed white before your eyes. Snowfall is a majestic and mystical sort of happening in a land where such occurrences are rare.

    Without consulting one another, every teacher at our school inherently knew that our classes MUST be taken outside immediately to experience this rare and magical event.

    The children gazed up in awe and wonder, mouths wide open and bodies somehow instinctively rotating in circles as they gazed in awe at the delicate ice crystals coming down from above.

    Snow. A wonder, a beauty, even a mystery of God’s Kingdom.

    As with most things, it’s all about your perspective.

    love in Him,
    pam

  2. Maria says:

    Make us white as snow, Lord! Amen

    God bless you,
    Maria in the UK
    http://www.inhishands.co.uk

  3. jel says:

    Great post Bill!

    When I was working and had to drive to work in the snow , I didn’t like it very much 😦

    But these days I love the snow, very year after it snows here I go for a walk , and I think That is why I love to go for a long walk in the snow, because I feel closer to Jesus. Snow and Rainbows reminds me of God! 🙂

    Oh and Bill ,
    I did that book report on the book , That Philip Yancey , worte Prayer/ Does It make any difference?
    if you want to read it!

    have a great day!

  4. Donna says:

    Well being one of those “southern girls” I thought of the forecasters predicting big snow only to get a light dusting or nothing at all. The really big snows usually come when the forecasters don’t expect it (down here that is)

    In the same way no man knows the hour or time that the son of man will return. Many will say here he comes….our watch, our vigilance cannot be dictated by the predictors around us. We must be ready…..regardless of the weather.

  5. Bill says:

    Pam: What an experience for your students! My children had a similar experience in Phoenix. It was really strange to see snow stacked up on the saguaro cacti. I guess the thing that really cracked them up was the fact that people would bundle up like it was cold when the temperatures dropped to the 50’s.

  6. Bill says:

    Maria: Welcome to the Spiritual Oasis! We are so glad you’ve started stopping by. I really enjoy your blog and hope that many readers will drop in on our new-found U.K. friend in the Lord!

  7. Bill says:

    jel: I know exactly what you are talking about. The picture I included with this post is looking across my backyard into my neighbor’s back yard. I enjoy looking at it, just not shoveling it!

    BTW, I read your book report. I is excellent. Made me want to rush right out and buy the book. One of our blogging friends is reading this book and will be hosting some discussions about it. You might want to visit his sight and see what he has going on:
    http://www.gregengland.com.

    God bless!

  8. Bill says:

    Great thoughts, Donna! Made me think of a song that we sang in a Christmas cantata way back when I was a teenager. It was: Get Ready! It was a powerful and moving piece that really stuck in my mind. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. Kathy says:

    Out here on the West Texas prairie we beg, plead, cry for snow. It is only through that white magic of snow that nasty virus and bacterial bugs are suffocated or frozen out so we don’t have a lethal outbreak of pneumonias and flu. Also, it is only through the cooling influence of snow that our flat landscape can be given a chance to ward off another summer of day upon day of over 100 degree weather in the Spring and Summer.

    So-rather than Bring Your Rain[Reign] O! LORD! we cry out to the heavens Let It Freeze, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow! [grin]

    Being a Southern California gal, we always made at least a couple of visits each winter to “visit” the snow. But I did spend 4 snowy winters in New York City. In all cases, I’ve loved the winter wonderland that snow affords us.

    Where we in So. CA see a metaphor in nature of the LORD’s return is in the unexpected earthquake. IMHO, there should be not even one non-believer in earthquake country. They are unpredictable, arriving when they see fit, but we know to be ready – prepared for their unannounced arrivals with survival kits. In the case of eternity, our only survival kit is faith in and following of Jesus. Maranatha, LORD Jesus, come quickly!!

  10. Mag says:

    Preparation! Yes! God prepares me against my own nature/personality/habits sometimes, and that blows me away.

    Two years ago, as I was doing my grocery shopping, God was encouraging me to try out a recipe I’d seen for a Christmas Cider…and buy an extra ham, and other Christmas (snacks). I don’t usually do the holiday snacky thing, and we’re invited to enough places that I really don’t need a lot of food or extras. But, I bought them in unusually good cooking spirit “just in case”.

    WELL….Christmas surprised us with a HUGE and FAST snow two years ago, our first year in our house hear.

    My brother & his wife were in from the Navy for the first time since being shipped overseas (expecting a baby).

    AND my other brother had just had a baby.

    We really NEEDED to be together after all that.

    It looked like the most central plan/safest roads were to switch direction and have everyone to drive one hour under a STATE OF EMERGENCY and arrive at my house to celebrate Christmas together. My brother with a new baby followed my Dad in for safety. We all prayed and prayed. Like idiots, they drove, but at least in a pack.

    I had six hours to make “Christmas” in my house!

    From “going-packed up”, to “coming–cleaning!”? Whew. Beds needed changing, rooms cleaning…WOW! So many finishing touches were needed. But, God had things do-able for me. I was SO thankful.

    We had the fires going, the house readied, food and good smells, places for the babies–eight adults, and four kids ready for Christmas in six hours or less!

    My brother emailed me a few days later told me it was one of his favorite Christmas memories. He said it was cozy and restful and peaceful. I’d had a notion that his baby might need a space to “get away” and prepared an extra fire in the basement with a rocking chair, rugs, and blankets. The baby did get colicky and they spent an our or so away from “the crowd” able to deal with it. I was so thankful God prepares us!

    Precious memories to me! Thanks for pulling that out!

    I loved preparing for all of them! Wished I’d had a few more beds, but we made it!

  11. Greg England says:

    I LOVE snow … so long as it’s in a picture or a video. Years ago when our children were very small, we lived in Central Florida over on the space coast. We were planning a visit to north Alabama for Christmas and my children were praying as fervently as children can pray that God would let it snow while we were “home.” I was praying just as fervently that God would not answer their prayers for snow. That week we were in Alabama, the temps hovered in the low to mid 60’s. God had answered prayer, indeed! Then we got a phone call from a woman who almost never called and she told us a radio station had brought in truckloads of snow so children could play in it. We took our children out to where the snow was and they knew without a doubt that God had answered prayer, indeed!

  12. Dee Andrews says:

    The first time my older son, David, ever saw snow was when he was about 3 1/2 and we’d move from east Texas to northern Virginia to the suburbs of D. C. The kids I and were staying with my aunt and uncle for a few weeks around the Beltway in Maryland late that fall when an unexpected 12 inches of fluffy snow fell.

    When he got up the that morning he was surprised to see everything covered in white and the snow still falling outside the front living room picture window. A bit later my aunt opened the curtains in the dining room facing the back of the house and David exclaimed excitedly, “Oh, it snowed here, too, it snowed on the back yard!!”

    He got to go out to play in it later and loved it. Me – I’m with Greg. I love it on rare occasion and that’s from inside looking out at it somewhere. We loved it covering all of the mountains in New Mexico and Colorado last month, but I’m not too much on “living” with it.

    I got my fill the 6 1/2 winters we lived in northern Virginia in Falls Church. I much prefer the south with it’s hot summers and mild springs, falls & winters. You can get out just fine when it’s hot with everything air conditioned, but snow is very confining and a lot of work to get around. Big time.

    We had snow here on Christmas Day a couple of winters ago, though, in 2004 and that was fun. Just enough to cover the ground and make everything lovely and get out in for a bit, then enjoy from in front of the fireplace the rest of the day.

    We’ve decided not to put a fireplace in the new house we’re building, though, because it’s so warm most winters here. Which is just fine with me any more now that the bones are beginning to creak!! ha!

    Cheers & Blessings to you all today! Dee

  13. Cecil Walker says:

    We don’t get much snow in Florida but one time we did enjoy snow in West Virginia at some of my wife’s relatives homes. Steven was in 2nd grade at the time so he and I went out to attempt to build a snow man. There was a gas station where all the locals congregated across the street. Later that day when Barb’s Uncle came home, he had a smile on his face. We asked him what was so funny? He had just come from the gas station and he said the locals were still howling at the deformed snow man that the goof-balls from Florida build in his front yard.

    I took it well and challenged any of them to a “sand castle building contest.”

  14. There are only two times that I do not like snow. First is when I have to shovel it. Many folks have not clue that snow can be extremely heavy. Second is after it gets lots of salt and dirt in it … then it is about the ugliest thing in the world.

    But there is not much I have seen that is more breathtaking than a foot of fresh power on your lawn.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

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