Snow and the fall of winter
Outside of my window snow has been falling for the past two hours. As autumn’s colors slowly shift from auburn to gray and white, I find myself curious to understand snow’s appeal. Sure, after a lifetime of living in the northeastern United States snow is already nothing new, but I haven’t really asked why a certain anticipation haunts just behind the clouds.
Snow is an excellent hider. Beneath even the slushiest mixes, snow quickly obscures the death that autumn brings. The fall leaves, once golden and crisp, fall to the ground as winds blow in colder weather and darker days. Once the leaves have settled into their new location nature dries them out, sapping the last of their vitality. Now the leaves are truly dead, as if they were not already. As the early snowfalls cover the dead leaves with a stunningly reflective coat of white, snow begins its quiet work. The dead leaves break down beneath the snow and reenter the earth. This disintegration happens away from our view, but we know that new life will arrive once the spring sunshine returns.
Thus it is fitting that in our part of the world Christmas falls in the winter, amidst the snows. Not just at its outset, but a few days after the winter solstice, the longest day of the year, God sent his son, our savior, into the world during this period of slumber and death. As the winter’s cold snaps and warmth returns, the melting snow returns to the earth and brings new life out of the dead leaves. We hope, as Christians, that God, through Christ and the Holy Spirit, can set our spirits afire with his love.