Snow – A Gift From God.

No. 73 - 04th March 2018

Well, on Tuesday, the snow finally reached Uckfield. A wonderful, light, fluffy snow that just blew across the ground. In Norway they have a special word for that kind of snow. In fact right up in the North of the country, the Sami people have 180 different words for snow, which I thought was a record. But according to researchers at the University of Glasgow, the Scots hold the record with 421 different words for snow and the way it moves. They have a word for large snow flakes and a different word for small snowflakes. They have a word for melting snow and one for melted snow. They even have a word for snow that blows around the corner of the house. But whatever you call it, snow can be totally transforming.

We have a patio at the back of the house that’s made out of pale, creamy slabs. But by the end of winter, they’ve turned almost completely black with algae and silt that has washed off the flower beds. It looks awful. Then on Tuesday when I pulled open the curtains, the patio had been transformed into a beautiful, pure white carpet. The lawn which was in a bit of a sorry state, suddenly looked like the icing on a very expensive wedding cake. In fact the whole garden had turned into a magical wonderland. Instant beauty without me having lifted a finger, or a yard brush or pressure hose. It was like a gift from God.

I couldn’t help thinking of a passage in the Old Testament where God is looking forward to that first Easter day, when he says to his people, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow”. A bit like my patio. Everything wiped clean as a gift from God. No effort on their part. Just take it as a gift. The quote comes from a man called Isaiah who was living more than 700 years before the events of the crucifixion. Yet his description of what was going to happen is nothing short of revelation. Among the dead sea scrolls there’s a 24 foot long scroll of the prophet Isaiah which puts the writings of Isaiah well before the events they were predicting. Out there on that lonely hill, a man, sent by God, went deliberately to his execution. Not for his own crimes. There weren’t any. He went for my crimes against God. So that my secret life could be whiter than the snow. Just a beautiful gift from God.

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