A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all people shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah 40:3-5

Image result for snow fields hills

I love snow. Meaning, as a grown adult woman I have been known to wear my pj’s inside out to make sure it comes when it’s supposed to. If it’s going to be so miserably cold in the winter, it may as well be magically miserable, right?

For children, snow means school is cancelled, and for adults who work with kids that go to school, it means work is cancelled. Enough snow means that an ordinary day becomes the kind of day when you have all the plans in the world and you can’t do ANY of them because you can’t safely leave the house. I live for those days. There’s no use attempting to get to the gym before work, or even to work at all for that matter, when you live in Virginia, and it snows a few inches, and no one knows how driving works anymore. So you stay home and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” because who can blame you?? It’s dangerous out there!

This is a humbling moment, realizing that we can do nothing to stop the weather. The snow comes, whether we consider ourselves ready for it or not, and all we can do is sit inside and look out the window, wondering what’s going to get cancelled the next day. And it can either be an exciting experience, when you don’t have anywhere urgently to get to, or a unsettling one as we reckon with that lack of control and a growing to-do list.

We let go of control when we have no choice but to do so, and in my experience, not before then. Weather teaches me this. In being forced to let go of our lack of God-hood and embracing our messy, mortal, out-of-our-control lives (through a snow day or otherwise), we find that the presence of God, like snow cancelling all our plans, can be a sweet balm to our souls and a moment to finally rest. When we are forced to let go of control of the weather, we receive the magic of snow like a child.

When snow comes, it comes to everyone and everything the same. It levels the ground, so that you can’t tell where your porch steps start and end. It covers both the meticulously manicured lawns, as well as my own yard, with its unraked leaves and random “compost piles”. It covers all of it the same, in a beautiful redemptive blanket.

God’s work through repentance is kind of like this, too. As Isaiah says, “every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth.” When forced to realize our lack of God-hood and lack of control, we find that we all have more in common with one another than maybe we’d like to admit.

The playing field is leveled. There is no manicured lawn or messy lawn — just a blanket of snow. God does not look at the human family and see divisions of socioeconomic status, political affiliation, or church attendance stats — we do this, God does not. He sees his children, each one in deep need of a savior. And this view of ourselves as children in need, while humbling, is a gift from God that allows us to feel compassion for our neighbor.

In this season of Advent, we are waiting. We are waiting for God to come back, to bring his new heaven and new earth that he promised, to heal our wounds, to wipe away every tear, to make the rough ways smooth, to redeem us. And as we wait, we are terribly out of control, and unable on our own to fix our current problems: unable to fix our broken families, unable to quit our addictions, unable to will away our depression.

But we are not without hope after all. God comes to us like snow: quietly, gently. He levels the playing field through the completed work on the cross. He brings all bustling activity to a stop, and He allows us to rest, finally, in his promise of salvation. It is here, in embracing the out-of-control “snow day” of our lives, where healing begins, too. As Isaiah says, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Let it be, Lord.