Okay, you’re tired of pictures of snow by now. Too bad. I’m going to show you a few more.
Why? Because I didn’t do it earlier, that’s why!
These were all taken on Saturday the 23rd, while the snow was still coming down. By the time it was done and the sun came out Sunday morning, we had somewhere between 26 – 30 inches. Nobody records an official accumulation here in LaVale, so I’m just estimating based on how far it came up on my leg when I stood beside a plowed section.
It was perfect weather, actually. Cold enough that the snow was light and fluffy, but not so bitter that being outside was dangerous. (That is, less risk of frostbite, lungs freezing, heart attack from shoveling, etc.) On Monday, I actually saw a guy digging his car out of a massive pile of snow wearing only jeans and boots. He’d taken off his jacket and shirt and hung them on a nearby road sign.
But I’m not really here to talk about snow, specifically. My topic today is pictures.
And no, I don’t mean the photos I’m including here (though they are rather fun). I’m talking about the illustrations God gives us in the temporal, physical world to picture eternal spiritual realities. The whole world is a picture book given by the Father to his children. If we’ll sit in his lap and listen, he’ll tell us what they’re all about.
For instance: while clearing two feet of snow off the front porch Saturday morning, I meditated on a phrase from Isaiah 1:18, Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.
Yea, verily, snow is white. I can think of nothing whiter! Matter of fact, when in full sun, it’s so white it can damage your eyes– snow blindness is a very real thing. The brilliance is not so impressive, though, unless the sun reflects off it. That is, the power is in the sun, not the snow.
We usually say the opposite of white is black. I learned in school that white light is the combination of all colors (think how a prism breaks down white light into a rainbow) whereas black is the absence of color. Opposites, right? All color v. no color? But in Isaiah 1:18, the opposite of white is scarlet. Blood-red, because sin is a bloody scourge we can’t escape.
The snow covers everything and makes it clean and white. Very white. And at present, very well covered! God went to great lengths (depths?) to make his point this past weekend.
Funny thing about white, though. It doesn’t stay pure for long. If you live a temperate region, you know how quickly the pristine snow will degrade, passing through the stages of brown sugar to ash gray to coal black to gritty slush. Truly, a fresh snowfall is a brief and precious thing.
When God covers our bloody sin with His snowy-white redemption, it’s a precious thing as well. But we get dirty right away, too, for how long can you go without sinning again? A few minutes, a few seconds? Just when we’re fresh and new, a prideful thought, a lustful impulse, a resentful response splashes its dirt across the surface, and the white is pure no more.
On the other hand, our redemption is eternal. One day, the dirty temporal will melt away, and the new creation beneath will remain, perfect and pure as God made it.
The ideal winter (in my opinion) is one in which, from late fall until early spring, the temperature never goes above freezing, and we get a couple of inches of snow every day or two. That way there’s no mud, no slush, and everything’s always clean and white all winter long. In the spiritual parallel, we need to be made clean on a regular basis through frequently bathing in the word of God (Ephesians 5:26).
But it’s not winter forever. In the spring, everything changes. The old things pass away (like snow and ice) and all things become new. A sagging snowman looks a bit sad, but he’s got to go before the grass can get green.
Indeed, God provides another marvelous picture in the changing seasons.
Your experience with the seasons depends on what part of the world you happen to stand on. While I dug my car out of the snow last weekend, my friend in Tasmania (waving hi to Paula!) enjoyed a warm mid-summer day. When my sister (hello to Holly!) lived in San Francisco, she said the biggest difference between summer and winter was the amount of rain that fell. People in equatorial regions often don’t see much change in the seasons at all. Nevertheless, God is the same everywhere, and his truth is universal. We merely see it from different vantage points.
So what am I saying? I’m not sure. I’m just enjoying the pictures, and I hope you do too.