I woke up this morning to a brief moment of snow. Elation! Of course, the sun that we depend on for survival quickly turned it all to puddles, and once again we are left with a snowless landscape as we bustle around our Christmas errands.
As Coldplay teaches, "When you're still waiting for the snow to fall, it doesn't really feel like Christmas at all."
And for those of us from snowy climes, it's absolutely true. Snow is one of the symbols of Christmas, just as much as pine trees or candy canes or candles and lights. The world covered in white represents several things to me.
For one thing, the snow is a huge cleansing agent out here. Where I live, the cold winter air tends to trap all the smog and air pollution in a haze of inversion that looks and feels awful. All of the pollutants that we pump into the air every day just sit there and hang over our heads. The only way to clean the air up at that point is for the cold inversion to disperse, or for precipitation to clean it out. And nothing cleans the air like a good snowstorm. After every snowfall, the air is crisp and clean again and the world feels great again. The more it snows, the cleaner everything feels. Falling snow is a cleansing agent.
Of course once the snow has fallen, it covers everything in white. All the dead leaves, yellow grass, bare mud, and dying world are completely dressed in white and made spotlessly beautiful. The Christmas season has a similar purifying effect on us-- it seems to cover all our mistakes and shortcomings in a coating of goodwill, hope, and charity as we remember what life is really about and find it in ourselves to believe, to forgive, to realign our priorities, to sacrifice, to serve, to inspire, and to be inspired. Snow on the ground is a renewal of purity.
The winter snow has more than just immediate effects. For my desert home, the only way that it can support such a growing population and industry on less than ten inches of annual rainfall is by relying on the snow. Those towering mountains that shut in all the inversion also save us from an utter paucity of water throughout the ensuing months, as the 500-600 inches of snow banked up over the winter months melts and supplies the valley inhabitants with sufficient water to subsist upon. Thank you, greatest snow on earth. Without all that snow, we would not have life-sustaining water.
Even though there is reasonable doubt that December 25th is the actual date of Christ's birth, the traditional winter celebration thereof provides us with a wonderful symbol of Christ's life and what it really means to us. Through him we can be cleansed of our pollutant mistakes, our mortality can be clothed in purity, and we will have the living water to sustain us through our lives.
For me, snow is a great contributor to the Christmas spirit because it testifies of Jesus Christ.