January 1, 2014
Last evening, New Year’s Eve, Terri and I met some friends at the Four Seasons for hors de voures, conversation, and listening to some good music (Isaac Hayden if any of you want to look him up). It was great watching the Four Season’s crowd as they came in from a fun day of skiing or arrived for an early drink prior to some big New Year’s Eve bash.
Part of the festivities as “The Village” was the annual torch light parade down the mountain. First came the children with their little flashlights. Then came the adults with their flares blazing. It seemed like hundreds of skiers with flares wove their way down the Teewinot run. The crowd cheered amidst the beauty of the stream of lights. The final celebration came with a fireworks display. What fun.
As I was watching the parade from the warm confines of the lounge I saw that snow had began to fall. I thought what a joyful sight for this evening. The mountain had been a bit icy and as in most ski towns, when there hasn’t been fresh snow for a while, things also turn a little bit dirt brown. By the time we left the village and headed back into town for dinner the wind was blowing and the fresh white stuff was covering the ground.
New Year morning, 2014. I got up today with a sea of freshly fallen snow surrounding the house. It is always a spectacular scene. The foot prints of our little dog are filled in and covered. The branches of the trees surrounding the house carry the weight of the evening’s blessing. The snow on the deck railing revealed that it had only been an inch or two that we had received down on the valley floor, but that inch or two had done its transformative work.
The start of a new year can be like a freshly fallen snow. It is a new beginning. It carries with it the possibilities of something new and beautiful. I am reminded of that wonderful verse from Isaiah 1:18:
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though you sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
The grace of God given us in and through Jesus Christ transforms our souls like the snow transforms the landscape. What a beautiful work it is. But, God’s grace does even more. The dirt and grime is only hidden underneath the newly fallen snow. When it melts the dirt is seen again. The season that follows winter is “mud season” when that which was hidden is revealed and must be dealt with. Contrast this to Jesus who is the one who “takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). David understood this when he said:
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11, 12.
May God through Jesus send the fresh, purifying snowfall of his grace upon you this new year and may your life, your behaviors, attitude, and motivations, be whiter than snow in 2014.
Happy New Year. Pastor Paul