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I love the snow

Pastoral Messages | January 17, 2019

I love the snow. I know I’m in the minority opinion on this. But I love it, even knowing the chaos a snowstorm brings to lots of people. It causes danger on roads and sidewalks. Poor, homeless, and elderly people are vulnerable to its cold. There are these amazing staff and volunteers at St. Paul who are called out of bed long before dawn to shovel our sidewalks and plow our parking lots to make it safe for us to be here. I’m grateful for them and worry for safety and warmth for others. But I still love the snow.

Let me be a bit of a snow-vangelist for a bit. One of snow’s gifts to us is that it reminds us that God is God, and we are humans. Snow disrupts our plan and reorganizes our schedules. Sometimes we need this kind of de-centering from being the rotational center of our own galaxies. Snow reminds us of our place in the order of things, beloved creatures in a wonderful complex creation, formed by a brilliant creator.

There is a reason for snow. So much depends on it. It insulates and protects our soil. The long cold days keep pesky bugs from thriving. For those of us who live in northern latitudes, snow is a necessary part of life. Every time it snows, I think there’s a chance that the climate is not quite as messed up as I fear. We’ve still got a chance to protect it for our children and grandchildren.

And then there’s the beauty of it. It’s like a sea of diamonds sparkling as the sun shines on it. There’s a miraculous quiet and stillness to it. In the coming days, for those of lucky enough to be near snow, open your eyes to its beauty. Maybe even give thanks to God as you watch the snow fall, this God who graciously showered it upon us. “For it is God who thunders wondrously with God’s voice; God does great things that we cannot comprehend. For to the snow God says, ‘Fall on the earth.’” (Job 37:5-6).

I’ve learned that if you want to build a friendship with someone you disagree with, a good beginning is to just play together. The same is true with snow. Snow’s best quality is playfulness. Even if you can’t ski or make a snow angel, you might be able to make a tiny snowman, or throw a pile of snow into the air like confetti. Play, like Sabbath rest, is an act of trust and praise.

We can’t change the weather, but we can choose gratitude and delight in what God has made. Here’s what you can do, next time it’s snowing, step outside, stretch out your arms to catch a snowflake on your sleeve, and wonder at its marvelously unique pattern. Or, if you really want to take in God’s stunningly joyful creation, look up into the sky and try to catch that snowflake on your tongue.

Sara Olson-Smith, associate pastor

9 Comments on “I love the snow”

  • Joyce Nuernberger

    February 1, 2019 at 10:34 am

    🙂 I like snow. Though the temperatures were extreme this past week, the snow was beautiful. I need to live where there are 4 seasons, so that I get snow. Snow isn’t just for Christmas. My aunt made a banner for me that hangs on the back of our front door when I put away the Christmas decorations. It has the silhouette of evergreen trees standing in a blanket of snow against a beautiful blue sky and silver moon. The words at the bottom simply say “A time for silence” The banner stays up until Lent.

  • Anke Maass

    January 20, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Simple thoughts of how lovely the snow is….from childhood to Now! Thanks for the reminder

  • Diane Nauman

    January 19, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    What a beautiful, snowy, peaceful, and bright Saturday……..an Iowa Winter Wonderland. Thank-you, Sara, for your positive message which is being read on this amazing winter’s day . Now……….out to make some snow angels!! 🙂

  • Sheila Mesick

    January 18, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Remembering the winters of my childhood, when winter in Iowa meant a snow covered surface all winter long. Big flakes of snow would fall bringing each day to quiet and life to the words, Be still and know that I am God.

  • Debby Reed

    January 17, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    Erica would have loved this! She loved the snow too. Last year when I asked her if she would come out and help me shovel if we stopped to get her a shovel of her own, she said, “I will, – if we can get a shovel that will match my eyes.” One of her favorite songs was Let It Snow

  • Georgeann Kreiter

    January 17, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    I’ve always loved the snow and now I know why. I’ve learned it’s not because I’m Scandinavian and a northerner but because God does his best to protect our world if we would just do our best to help out! Let it snow!!

  • Tim Sondag

    January 17, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Me too! I find comfort in it’s fresh white blanket and quiet it brings to the outdoors. Beauty from god!

  • Julia Bryant

    January 17, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    I love the snow too. I use to play with my school kids all the time. I own a very large tobbaggon. It is great for the long hills. Fits 5 people. Julia

  • Dixie Kutzbach

    January 17, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    This is beautiful, Sarah, and reminds me of the pure joy snow has brought my grandchildren, as well as my children and myself! Sometimes we need to look at things through the eyes of a child.

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Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger 3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[a] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[a] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna[g] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[h] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.