As I type, I watch the beautiful snowflakes fall like icing sugar, dusting the view from the front of the house. Wind catches it, causing it to blow here and there before finally landing on the pure white ground. The car is covered in what looks like rolled icing. I love sugar – can you tell?
Snow never happens in rural Devon. Not like it does in rural Norfolk. I miss the snow days which kept me off school. I have memories of attempting to build an igloo as I snuck into the abandoned school playing field with friends – we shouldn’t have been there but it was like a winter wonderland! Here in Devon, snow is a big deal. My husband hasn’t seen snow like it since he was 6 or 7! We were debating together what heavy snowfall actually looks like. He was appreciating the snow as it was, whilst I was longing for bigger flakes!
Maybe Joel has the right idea – appreciating it for what it is in its time. The first few flakes that I spotted filled me with excitement and anticipation. The beauty of each unique snowflake was precious and even more now that I hardly ever see that beautiful sight that I grew up with and took for granted.
Given the right conditions, snow can settle as layers and layers of individual snowflakes compacted together.
When snow melts, it somehow loses its beauty and gives way to slush. It mixes with the dirt and is no longer pure white, but shades of brown and grey.
Eventually it disappears completely. Can we appreciate it in its time?
People view snow differently. Whilst some love to go outside, build snowmen, make snow angels and have snowball fights, others long for it just to melt away, seeing it as an inconvenience or a hazard. Some are living in it – the snow doesn’t stop for the homeless, but will we stop for them?
In the UK we are not used to a lot of snow. It’s like the country grinds to a halt. Everything slows down or stops. We are forced to assess our safety as weather forecasters let us know what we can expect. Stopping from the busyness and normal. Stopping from the ‘business as usual’. Maybe it’s a good thing to stop and take stock of the things we would rather avoid.
Rather than passing a rough sleeper, maybe we could do all we can to help them. Rather than staying indoors, are we aware of someone who is unable to venture outside – perhaps an elderly neighbour, a carer looking after their disabled son or daughter or someone who is feeling lonely and the snow reinforces the sense of loneliness and isolation?
Stopping to take stock of what is important in life is necessary, but I wonder in our instant, media-saturated society if we ever are brave enough to do that. Are we afraid what we will find if we stop for long enough?
One of the things that is often overlooked, ignored or laughed at is sin. Sin is what separates us from God. It’s something that is in our nature. It’s not about good deeds and bad deeds – all of us have fallen short from God’s standards. No one can possibly meet the standards of God because He is holy. Except Jesus Christ. Jesus is described as a sacrificial lamb without spot or blemish (1 Peter 1:19). He lived a perfect life and paid the price of our sin.
As I look at the clean, crisp snow, I am reminded to stop and remember the price that Christ paid for my sin and the sin of the world.
Although our sins make us like the gritty, dirty, messy slush, Jesus has made us appear like snow before the Father in heaven. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, our sins have been forgiven.
This is my prayer – Psalm 51:1-13 – I pray that you will stop and reflect on this today:
Be gracious to me, God,
according to your faithful love;
according to your abundant compassion,
blot out my rebellion.
Completely wash away my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I am conscious of my rebellion,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you—you alone—I have sinned
and done this evil in your sight.
So you are right when you pass sentence;
you are blameless when you judge.
Indeed, I was guilty when I was born;
I was sinful when my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire integrity in the inner self,
and you teach me wisdom deep within.
Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Turn your face away from my sins
and blot out all my guilt.
God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore the joy of your salvation to me,
and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit.
Then I will teach the rebellious your ways,
and sinners will return to you.