I have to admit that the snow does help it feel a bit more like Christmas. I spent most of the day today making candy and treats for Ken to take into his workplace. My goal for tomorrow is more cookie baking. A snow day is a really good time to crank up the over and pull out the baking supplies. I'm not sure what things will be like tomorrow morning, but when you plan to stay in all day, it really doesn't matter!
I was thinking about this sweet picture of Gwen that was taken the first time she ever "played" in the snow.
She was 18 months old at the time and her first winter was a bit like our last years winter. There wasn't any snow. So when it snowed in November of her second year, we had to let her experience a bit of snow. You might notice, however, that she is wearing "Rain boots"! We had not thought to buy her any winter boots. I remember thinking how silly it was that I had not considered that she might need winter boots. Clearly, I was a first time mom! But she did have a nice warm coat and mittens. You can also see that she is wearing a dress! To play in the snow. This one is totally Gwen's fault! As soon as she could make her wishes known (which was pretty early), that girl insisted on wearing dresses. I remember one time when she was right around the age of this picture that she refused to leave the changing table until I let her wear her "dress shoes" (which were black leather t-strap). She wrapped her arms around the rail of the changing table and screamed SHOES! at the top of her lungs until I changed her shoes. She was a determined young lady. Now, when I see Anna insisting on the pink pants and purple shirt, I have to laugh! Gwen is sort of getting some pay back on this.
I've been remembering a very favorite banner that was at a church I attended. It was a "winter scene" with a house covered with snow. There were pine trees and it was such a pretty scene. But the words said "Wash me and I will be whiter than snow". I remember thinking that this was an interesting phrase to put on this banner. It just didn't seem to fit. Many years later, I saw another banner with the same words. However this banner had a scarred hand with blood drops falling onto a mountain of dark soil. Yes, this was a much better visual for these words for me. I love the picture of the red blood that Jesus shed on the cross for me - hitting all of those dark places in my heart. And this amazing transformation happens - suddenly that sinful, dirty, shameful heart becomes white as snow. What a miracle that is.
As I look out at the quiet street, covered in layers of pure white snow, I am so thankful. It is easy to say "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" Advent is usually a time to contemplate the coming of the baby Jesus at Christmas. But for me, seeing the snow, it is a stark reminder of the cross of Easter. The truth is that every celebration of the Christmas stable should include the shadow of the cross. The life of Jesus was destined to end at the cross. Because we know the entire story, we can celebrate the beginning but also remember the ending. I don't know about you, but this changes how I feel about so much of my holiday activities. Suddenly, there is great joy and much thankfulness.
Thanks to a "winter storm warning"!
Jesus, thank you for your shed blood that covers over a multitude of sins. Holy Spirit, help us all to remember that you see us whiter than snow - especially when we are tempted to be filled with shame and guilt. Jesus, remind us to look over the stable and see the cross. Jesus, I love you! Amen