Snow in the shade

Though almost all the snow has melted in the sunshine this past week, our road has been a different story.

The ice still clings to the gravel that winds through the clearing in the woods as you travel back to our house, and until just a few days ago, snow remained packed down, determined to stay.

Snow sticks around in the shade.

Snow remained on our lane long after the rest melted

Snow remained on our lane long after everything around it melted

The same can be true of our hearts.

The snow falls around us, and to protect ourselves, we choose to hibernate, to hide from the coldness of this world. The disappointments, frustrations, failures and rejections pile up around us, and the frost bites until we become numb to God’s goodness and sweet grace. We can’t feel our hands in His because the flame of our passion for Christ has grown dim. And when the storm has passed and God’s sunshine beams down, we cling to the shade. Our eyes have grown too accustomed to the grays, and when His light pierces our hearts, we resist to awaken and drink it in.

So, the snow sticks, slowly, slowly melting and then freezing as night falls, causing us to slip further.

We need the Light of the world.

Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

– John 8:12

Listen to Jesus speak to you again. Follow His voice into the sunshine. Let the light cascade into all your hidden corners. Experience the warmth of His embrace as He thaws what has kept you from feeling His love and understanding His plan. His Word will reawaken your purpose and call you back to the path He has called you to walk upon.

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.

– Psalm 119:105

The first creative act of God was to speak the light into existence, recorded in Genesis 1:3. He longs to do that again in the shade of darkness you have pulled around you. In the midst of your pain, apathy, struggle for control, chaos or conflict, cry out to the Lord:

God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not banish me from Your presence
or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and give me a willing spirit.

– Psalm 51:10-12

God will hear, and He will answer. With the willing spirit He gives, step into the Light.

Christmas Countdown Day 18: Snowflakes

Our Advent Scripture passage for Day 18 is Luke 1:67-80.

Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because He has visited
and provided redemption for His people.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David,
just as He spoke by the mouth
of His holy prophets in ancient times;
salvation from our enemies
and from the clutches of those who hate us.
He has dealt mercifully with our fathers
and remembered His holy covenant—
the oath that He swore to our father Abraham.
He has given us the privilege,
since we have been rescued
from our enemies’ clutches,
to serve Him without fear
in holiness and righteousness
in His presence all our days.
And child, you will be called
a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare His ways,
to give His people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the Dawn from on high will visit us
to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The child grew up and became spiritually strong, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Lauren holds a snowflake up to her eyes.

Lauren holds a snowflake up to her eyes.

For Day 18, the kids and I made paper snowflakes. I had forgotten what a mess of paper scraps that makes. In fact, if you gathered up all the cut-out pieces, you would have makeshift snow confetti!

Both kids love using scissors. Jackson, my five-year-old, is a pro. But Lauren, who is 2, is dangerous with scissors. She holds them with both hands, I strategically put a piece of paper between the blades, and she clamps down, sometimes faster than I’m ready for. I ended up cutting out most of the snowflakes.

While the kids decorated their snowflakes, we talked about how they can remind us of God.

God created each snowflake unique. Every one is specially crafted with a different design, showcasing the endless creativity of our Heavenly Father. He hand-made us that way, too. He lovingly and specially molded us as individuals, with the image of God impressed upon our souls. Every person is a beautiful creation and is deeply loved by their Creator.

“Come, let us discuss this,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they will be as white as snow;
though they are as red as crimson,
they will be like wool.

– Isaiah 1:18

Scripture also describes our lives as “white as snow” when God cleans us from our sin. Jesus’s shed blood on the cross covers the mess of our lives. When we confess our sin and need for Him, asking God’s forgiveness, we are made whole. All the dirtiness and gunk marring our hearts is washed away. Whenever we see snowflakes or the ground freshly blanketed by snow, we can be reminded of our Savior’s sacrifice made because of our desperate need for His forgiveness and cleansing.

Are there corners of your heart that need renewed? Christmas is a perfect time to receive the peace that comes from the forgiveness of God. Don’t just dream for a white Christmas, ask God to make that a reality in your life.

Jackson decorates his paper snowflakes.

Jackson decorates his paper snowflakes.