Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes. But there is another thing that Minnesota is known for… embraced by the hearty and feared by those that live in temperate climates year-round. I’m talking about snow.
Minnesotans obviously expect a good dose of the white stuff each winter. Sometimes we get a lot of it and are challenged with where to stack it up when clearing off our driveways. And if we are really lucky, we can get so much that we need to make sure the weight of the snow is off of our roofs as well. This year, the October 20 snowstorm dumped 6-9” on us, making us all think it was going to be a loooong winter. Warming temperatures made the snow melt and we all wondered if we would have a white Christmas. The blizzard that showed up on December 23 took care of that for us!
Now at the end of January, we have been graced with several more inches of the fluffy stuff.
A read through the Bible reveals that snow is talked about in several verses.
His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
– Matthew 28:3
I had always assumed the climate in the Middle East was dry and desert like. Yet, Matthew has experience with snow! A quick search of Wikipedia informed me of one recent snow event in Israel. In 2013, over 2 feet of snow fell in Jerusalem, and up to three feet in the Judean Hills. Jerusalem was cut off for 48 hours by deep snow and flooding, and cars were abandoned after they got stuck in the snow.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. – Psalm 51:7
An observation I had about this particular verse is that it says, “whiter than snow.”
Snow is white. The whitest white. Whiter than clouds. Whiter than a baby polar bear. I think of fresh snow as being clean and pure. Blinding when the sun is shining on it and reflecting the light into the eye. This verse says whiter than snow. How could fresh snow be any whiter than it already is?
Here is the interesting thing. Every flake of snow is formed around a little piece of dirt.
God, the creator, set it up like this. Snow is formed when water vapor condenses around small particles of dust, pollen, or salts at temperatures below freezing. As water molecules are added to the growing ice crystal, a one-of-a-kind snowflake emerges. An object’s color is determined by the light it reflects and when it reflects very little, it appears white. This is true of the snowflake. Because it absorbs most of the visible light striking its surface, it appears white to our eyes, despite the dirt tucked away in its center!
There is another, greater truth in Psalm 57:1 that is also contained in this verse.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18
Have you ever tried to get a deep, red stain off a totally white item? It is a challenge to say the least, even with the specifically formulated cleaners we have today. We all understand what a stain is.
Yet, God speaks to Isaiah to make the point that He can wash away our sin, making the red stain of it as white as snow. As white as the fresh flakes we see falling from the sky. As white as the undisturbed accumulation of snow that we see on the ground. This is good news!
I am the kind of person that really needs to lean in to winter. I do not readily see snow and get enthused about the outdoor activities that become available. In the past, it was not uncommon for me to complain and grumble.
However, after meditating on verses that talk about snow, whenever I see the white stuff coming down, I am reminded of the truth of Scripture and the gift of forgiveness that has been provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
May you also be reminded of that truth; with every snowflake you see.