Posted by Peggy Utley

I’m headed back to the Virginia Mountains in a few hours. This time I’m not trying to dodge snow storms! No matter what the forecasters say, there’s still an element of surprise surrounding winter weather. Maybe that’s why I love snow and winter so much.

Watching it snow is, for me, a peaceful experience. The flakes falling from the sky remind me that the world is going to change, if just for a little while. The difficulties driving and walking slow our pace and make us think about what we are doing. Activities change and we have to be patient with things like trash pickup and mail service. Around here it seems like we are a bit paralyzed by the snow but the reality is that we are forced to slow down and just watch the snow fall. Harsh sounds of traffic are muffled by the soft snow. Nice.

Whenever I get the chance to watch snow fall, I look at the flakes and marvel that each is different from the other. Sometimes you notice the different shapes as they fall but other times you have to have them magnified to see the variations. People are that way, too. Each person born into this world has a unique appearance and life experience. Just like fingerprints and DNA, a person’s personality is different from anyone else’s. Snowflakes, like people, form from separate crystals. Sometimes they connect with another snowflake on the way to the ground. Others make it to the ground and combine with others to form a soft blanket of white. And even if we don’t like it, snow serves a purpose – other than slowing down traffic and supporting body shops. When it melts, the water from the snow will seep into the soil and then into the water table. A good snow can make the difference between experiencing drought conditions in the summer and being able to water the lawn. Snow can insulate plants from harsh temperatures. The individual snowflake doesn’t really affect much. But a good winter storm can make a difference months after it melts.

The Church is another example of separate entities combining with others to affect a difference in the world. That is not to say the work of an individual Christian is not valuable. But even if you are the only one from your church volunteering at the soup kitchen there are others working there for the same goal – feeding the hungry. What a wonderful lesson to be learned from a simple natural event. And what an awesome God to find ways to teach us – if we’ll just pay attention.