I am having a real love/hate relationship with all of the snow we have been getting this winter. I hate that it has caused us to miss a Sunday morning of worship, and that it has interfered with our scheduled activities on two Wednesday evenings. On the love side, even though I want all of the children to get all of the education that they can, I do not begrudge them their days out of school due to snow. Is there anything better than a snow day? Yet, even lovelier than a day off from school, is the way that snow covers the landscape. Blanketing the ground, clinging to the limbs of trees, and balancing on wires, it creates art in such a way that no matter where you are, you are standing in the middle of a picture.
The beauty of snow-covered landscapes almost always reminds me of God’s creative activity in the world. Standing outside in the night, as the snow is falling and covering everything that it touches, is an awe-inducing experience. The glory of God’s creation cannot be contained as it beautifies the darkness.
At the same time, I am mindful that what I am experiencing as beautiful is creating an altogether different experience for some. They are cold without warm shelter to shield them from the night. The snow does not prompt them to think of God’s presence. Left alone in the cold, at best they ponder the absence of God — at worst, they rail against a cruel deity that would allow it to snow on people who have no protection from the harsh night.
It is easy to get stuck in the snow, especially for those of us who do not get much practice driving in such conditions. As believers, it is also easy for us to get stuck in the creation, or least in the questions of creation. How did we get here? Does the Genesis account of creation say all that there is to say about the origin of life? Can Christians be faithful in their relationships to God without ignoring what science would teach us about the human experience? These questions would be much more important than they are if creating us was the last thing that God did for us.
However, God did not just create us and leave us. God created us and came to us. In coming to us in Christ, God invites us to live the life God intended for us. In Christ, we see that life modeled. The early church recognized Jesus in the words of Isaiah, “…a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.” In a time and place marked by its share of suffering and wrongdoing, Jesus lived with a gentleness that would not break an already bruised reed nor extinguish a weakly burning flame; yet with his life, he brought light to the nations, sight to the blind, and justice to the oppressed. He invites us to such a life. God did not create us just so that we could wile away our days admiring the artistry of God’s handiwork. God made us, redeemed us, and invited us to live lives that shine light, open eyes, and do justice. God invites us to live in such a way that those who find themselves without shelter on a cold winter’s night will know that they are not alone and that they have not been created only to be abandoned by God. They will know because they will see the love of God being shared by the people of God.