I’ve spent most of my life in Texas, where snow is on the endangered species list. In this state, snow is synonymous with school closings, a day off, over-enthusiastic meteorologists and bad roads. Those who have never lived here have difficulty understanding why entire cities shut down with just a couple of inches of snow. I’ll tell you why. Texas drivers. When there are only one or two snow plows for an entire metropolitan area like Dallas or Houston, those plows have certain priorities when it comes to snow removal. None of those priorities include suburban roads. And I don’t care how many four-wheel drives you own, iced over packed snow will cause you problems. Cities shut down so Texas drivers don’t cause mass casualties on the road.
I can say this because I lived in Colorado for a time. When I first arrived, I kept the Texas plates on my car as long as possible so the Colorado drivers would stay away from me until I figured out how to navigate the white stuff. Learning how to drive home, uphill, with rear-wheel drive and 18 inches of snow was significantly easier to get used to than going to work after such a storm ever was. My driving abilities acclimated, but my snow day mentality never did.
Aside from the sledding, snowboarding and snowmen, there are two things I loved most about the snow. First of all, it silences the white noise by muffling everything. Snow falls quietly, covers quietly and mutes the sound of movement. Watching something so majestic not make a sound gives one reason to pause. Just listen to the silence.
Secondly, snow blankets everything equally. Luxury car emblems become just as invisible as dents and rust. Grass, dirt, concrete and asphalt look alike under freshly fallen snow. Snow is the great equalizer.
When I was a school-age kid, we lived in Albuquerque. Albuquerque gets snow much more often than any Texas city. Our neighborhood was full of kids. Whenever it would snow, all the kids in the neighborhood held an unofficial competition to see whose front yard would remain unmarred for the longest period of time. This translated into getting angry if another neighbor made tracks in our snow, used our snow for their snowman or in any other way put a mark on our pristine white blanket. Looking back, it seems so counter-intuitive to how most kids respond to freshly fallen snow. Then again, in Albuquerque, lots of people landscaped with rocks, so a snowball fight might have resulted in broken windows.
Even still, I can’t help but think that those neighborhood kids understood the beauty of untouched snow. We were willing to yell and fight and retaliate to protect the purity of our snow. Therein lies the gospel message.
Jesus gave everything to restore our purity in God’s eyes. Beneath His blanket of grace lie sinners like me, those of us who recognize that without Him our faults will be seen and held against us, those who pray like King David did, “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”