Having grown up in northern Indiana, Christmas for me was normally cold and often snowy. That was fine—I like snow and don’t mind the cold. It seemed quite natural to sing, “The snow lay on the ground. The stars shone bright when christ our Lord was born on Christmas night.” That’s the way I always remember Christmas—with deep snow, high drifts, and bitter cold. Although that might be a bit exaggerated, we really didn’t need to “dream” about a white Christmas on that farm near Elkhart.
As you drive farther south in our beautiful Indiana District, however, you will find many places where a white Christmas is rare. In Lexington and Henderson, Kentucky, for instance, you don’t really think much about snow or even imagine snow at Christmastime. And, in my first congregation in Natchez, Mississippi, snow was out of the question (although some people would put that spray-on snow around their windows to make it look like a White Christmas)!
Whether or not it makes sense to sing, “See amid the winter’s snow,” we can still join with people around the world in preparing to celebrate the birth of God’s incarnate Son in the little town of Bethlehem. Advent is not about guessing the weather or counting the shopping days, but about rejoicing in the prophecies of Scripture and the fulfillment of those prophecies in Jesus Christ. He is the One to save the world and redeem your soul. His forgiveness and love are yours—in season and out of season.
In fact, what happened that first Christmas night was much, much deeper than snow! My favorite Bible verse with the word snow in it is not really about snow at all: The Lord said, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Sure, snow is white, and it does cover the drabness of the winter landscape; it’s pretty. But Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection cover my sins completely. Now that’s beautiful!
No matter what the weather, the powerful fulfillment of God’s loving and saving grace is just as joyous with or without sleds, snow shovels or roads coated in ice! The warmth of Christmas is ours, weather or not! As you gather with family and friends this year, I pray that you will rejoice to high heaven as you join the angelic chorus in thanking God for giving to you the gift of His Son.
May you have a blessed Advent and joyous Christmas as you celebrate the birth of our Savior to forgive and redeem us!
Merry Christmas in Christ,
Rev. Daniel May