I’m in my happy place today. The ice, even thunder-ice moved in early this morning with a little snow. Actually, I’d prefer 6 to 10 inches of snow instead of ice—but I’m still happy as a clam (whatever that means). I love the ice and snow, with apologies to all those who must work outside in these conditions.
Maybe it began when I lived in the mountains. I love the white, the way the snow and ice cover the ground, covering every flaw, everything ugly: trash laying in ditches, tire marks cut through an open field, bald spots where grass no longer grows. It even muffles sound so that everything turns quiet. For just a few minutes, until the temperature rises and the magic goes away, it’s beautiful again. Maybe this was Isaiah’s idea when he wrote, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow” (Isa. 1:18). Maybe.
But to tell the truth, I like the ice and snow even more these days because of what it does to us. It stops us, cancels all our busy-ness, and slows us down. School is cancelled (sorry parents), games are cancelled or postponed (sorry kids), meetings are rescheduled for a later time (I’m not sure anyone is really sorry about this), and even church assemblies are cancelled for the evening. So instead of trying to squeeze in so many items on our calendar and to-do list, we stay home, read a book, watch a movie (or edit a manuscript), and maybe even take a nap. That’s what I like most about ice and snow. In fact, if we let it, a snow day or two will help us question why we are moving so fast and trying to do so much in the first place. What are we running for? Or maybe better stated, what are we running from?
In Genesis 1, God created humans to exist in a certain rhythm of work and rest. A rhythm challenged by the extension of our days thanks to the wonders of electricity and the light bulb. A rhythm further challenged by our culture of going and doing: if some is good—a lot more is better. Before we know it, we don’t have a moment left to breathe. That’s why I love snow; we get to breathe for a day or two and remember what it’s like to slow down.
Ah, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Glenn Pemberton is a minister turned professor turned writer. After serving churches in Texas and Colorado, Glenn completed a Ph.D. (Old Testament). He then taught at Oklahoma Christian University before coming to Abilene Christian University in 2005, retiring as professor emeritus in 2017 due to a severe chronic pain. Glenn now spends his time writing for the church. Along with short essays he has published four books, including The God who Saves: An Introduction to the Message of the Old Testament (2015), and Hurting with God: Learning to Lament with the Psalms (2012). Glenn and his wife Dana continue to live in Abilene, Texas.