I watch the snowflakes flutter softly from the gray clouds while the deceptive sun rays warm through the window. It is very cold outside this January Sunday. The way the song birds are feeding this afternoon, the flakes will grow in size, and accumulate to become a white cover. I suspect to see a pure white landscape by early morning. I love snow, the subtle uniqueness of each snowflake in contrast to the energy and excitement it generates. Our 13-year old Labrador prances in this white fluff, old bones and all.
Snow also reminds me of what Jesus has done with my sin, and yours. Isaiah 1:18 says “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” and the Psalms tell me “… wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” There has to be a time to recognize sin for what it is, in order to be washed whiter than snow. Anger that is out of control is sin. Jealousy towards those seemingly more favored with a relationship, talent or possessions, unforgiveness towards another, disbelief in God’s promises, sex thoughts that linger beyond the marriage vow, impatience with the simple-minded, and using food, alcohol, uppers, downers, or whatever rather than listening and obeying God’s Word is sin. Anything that separates us from God is sin. Exam oneself. Take the time now … Today am I right with my God and His people?
Those gaps in life, my shortcomings and downfalls are bridged with Jesus. I can pray to God with confidence because of Jesus. Jesus, God’s Son is the only example of the life without sin. And the Gospel message “He who is without sin cast the first stone”, Jesus scolded the crowd surrounding a “sinful woman”. Jesus could have cast the stone, but He did not and does not. He chose to love. Have you been that woman feeling the stones hit with the gossip, rumors, lies, judgement, abandonment, assaults, or disassociation? Or are you the one throwing the self-righteous stone? For each, Jesus is there to make you “whiter than snow.” The saying “pure religion is love in action,” reminds me to smile at all people who cross my path no matter if they smile back, be faithful to the faithless, give without expecting in return. Be the one that goes beyond the dirt and finds the gold inside the unlovable. Be Jesus’ hands and heart to those placed in your life.
“There are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it,” author Edith Wharton is quoted. Edith began to write poems, short stories, and novels as a child in the latter 1800’s. Her first published novel would not be until she reached age 40, as it was not acceptable for a societal woman to be active in writing during this era. Edith’s life reflected her love for humanity during the first World War, brave efforts made for her French friends. Days and years, maybe a dimly lit wick, but she persevered in those humane and writing works. Edith Wharton’s influence is seen in literature and the arts today, and she has been gone from earth since 1937.
“He will not break a broken branch or put out a little fire. He will be faithful to make everything fair,” the Bible verse encourages us in Isaiah 42:3. In today’s world when life seems totally unfair, there is this promise from the Old Testament. Do not put out your own light by living like life is unfair, slanted, short-changed. Stop the envious comparisons to your family member, curtail the jealous plans to out beautify or own more than the Jones, and live your life at peace with yourself , neighbor, and God. Be secure in God. Be thankful. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine …” Be that candle, and reflect God’s love for you as a mirror to the community you have been placed in.
Life is too short to sit idle, hate others, be jealous or depressed, and play mind games. With God’s grace, sincerity and a pure heart is what I desire to become. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10. Pure and as sweet as honey. White as snow. No bargains made or motives conjured up. Just live for my Creator. I answer to my God at the end of the day, every day. And every day is a gift. At the end of the day, I take in account how I spent those precious minutes, my God-given talents, supply of resources and energy? Is my time consumed in front of a screen, iphone-size or mega flat screen TV-size? Size of the electronic does not matter, just how did I personally connect to those around today? Did I pick-up my neighbor’s storm-tossed trash scattered across his yard, encourage my co-worker on her new project, smile at that smelly stranger on the street bench, or pick-up the phone to talk to my kin living a few hundred or 2 miles away? Everyone has something they are good at. My energy levels may be up or plummeted down or be sporadic. Did I use whatever today’s strength is to extend God’s love and grace? Did I pray and be a vessel for peace or healing? At the end of the day …
As a gardener, I understand the need to let some of my herbs go to seed in the autumn season. The once green, edible plant produces seeds, then becomes brown, and dies with the winter chill. But that seed or seeds have the kernel inside, drops to the fertile soil, and with the right conditions will produce another herb plant. Every year I have voluntary lettuce or basil emerge from the cold soil. Sometimes seeds are intentional gathered to be sown into the fertile soil. Burkee, Seed Savers, and the like make a profit with seed gathering. Yes, undesirable weeds survive with the same process. But the point is something has to die to produce more life, plentiful life. “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
Jesus Christ is our example for the Christian life. He lost His life, so that all of us could live eternally. So what have you lost? What have you lost to only gain more later? Sometimes much later, maybe in the next life. “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” Philippians 3:8.
Can you be happy for those who win, even if it is like all the time? At some place or season in your friend’s or brother’s life, they lost, too. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15. This is how we conquer our insecurities and jealousy. Don’t compare your life to your brother’s. “To everything, there is a season.” Ecclesiastes 3:1