Thursday, 17 January 2013

Why I Like Snow

 I'm writing this on a wintry evening, with an almost-certain forecast of heavy snow for tomorrow.  I've mentioned this a few times on Facebook, and posted screenshots of weather forecasts from the Met Office and the BBC Weather site to share my excitement at the prospect of a large fall of snow tomorrow.  Some of my friends share my love of snow.  Some don't.  In fact, some positively dislike it; I expect, given the opportunity, they'd shake their fists at the sky and disapprovingly wave their fingers at the clouds at the first suggestion that there may be a few flakes falling in the near future.

The media often report snow in terms of traffic delays, travel disruption and so on.  Consequently, many people have a negative view of snow (and its apparent 'partner in crime' - ice).  Might I suggest that if you have a negative view of snow for this reason, that you allow extra time for your journey, give up on the idea of driving at normal speeds and pay attention to the change in road conditions?  Leave extra space between you and the car in front, drive carefully, accelerate steadily, brake smoothly and steer a little less dramatically?  If we all did this, then we'd all travel more slowly but we'd all arrive safely, and with fewer accidents.  

So, having addressed the main negative reaction to the snow and the disruption it causes, I would like to turn to the questions, "Why do you like snow?  What's the obsession?  What's so good about snow anyway?"

Here's my reply.

1.  It's photogenic.  Very photogenic.  During the annual time of long, dark nights, with overcast and grey days; lifeless and leafless trees, and general dullness, the arrival of snow heralds a widespread brightening and improvement in the landscape.  Even on a cloudy day, snow can brighten the landscape considerably.

2.  It's fun.  Sledging (which I only discovered a couple of years ago); snowballs, snowmen...  sometimes there's no point trying to take snow seriously.

3.  And this is the most important to me:  it's a great visual reminder of some Biblical truths.  In order from 'resonates with me a bit' through to 'hits home every time I see snow', here are some Scriptural principles and the Bible verses that I see when the snow falls.

a)  Snow is a good description of what angels look like.  Matthew 28 reads:

"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.  There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow."

On a sunny day, just a glance at snow can be dazzling - that's why skiers wear sunglasses (or ski goggles) even in winter.  What do angels look like?  Answer:  they wear clothes that are as bright and white as snow.

b)  Snow comes down from heaven, and is a reminder that God keeps his promises.  Isaiah 55:10,11

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

God set the rainbow in the sky as a reminder that he keeps his promises (in particular, He's not going to flood the whole world again), and sends rain and snow to remind us that His word, which he also sends from heaven.  Snow doesn't just evaporate its way back to the clouds.  It waters the earth, and makes things grow.  So it is with God's word - when He sends it, it fulfils its purpose.

c)  This is my most favoured one; there are plenty more references to snow in the Bible (and none of them, by the way, are negative), but this one is one that resonates most strongly with me - it hits me where I live.  Isaiah 1:18 says:

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” 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."

I'm not perfect.  In fact, if you were to look at me as a weather forecast, it would be dull and gloomy with black clouds.  However, in this verse, God invites Isaiah to sit down and talk.  God knows that Isaiah isn't perfect - in fact his record is stained with scarlet and crimson, which are deep, dark dyes - but God says he will wash them out and Isaiah's sins - his mistakes and wrongdoings - will be as white as snow.  Pure, clean and white.  God washes whiter than Persil, and puts Isaiah (and me) in a position where he's able to sit down and reason with God.  It's an invitation to talk, where Isaiah is as white as snow... which is as white as the angels.

So, why do I like snow?  Because it reminds me that with my sins forgiven, I'm as white as snow.  And it's fun, bright and cheerful, and makes for great photographs.

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