I didn't see much snow during my childhood in south Texas. In fact, I don't recall experiencing it at all until my high school years in Austin. However, while living in Indiana; West Berlin, Germany; Connecticut; Georgia (yes, it actually snows there on rare occasions); north Texas; and now Missouri I've enjoyed a lot of snow.
While driving commercial busses in Ft. Wayne, IN I sometimes had to haul stranded airline passengers from South Bend's airport to Chicago O'Hare on roads that had not yet been cleared of a heavy snowfall. Sally and I have romantic memories of the snow-covered streets of West Berlin under the dark night's sparkling stars and flickering gas street lights. My most memorable snowfall was when my daughter exited Sally's womb on Meriden, CT's snowiest day in February 1977. Then there was the infamous "Blizzard of '78" in Ft. Wayne, IN that imprisoned us for a few days. I'll never forget the snowy days in Ossian, IN, where my then very young children and I built snow forts, sledded in the streets, and hunted the perfect Christmas tree in the falling snow. And now I've had the thrill to experience what some have described as the snowiest winter here in southeast Missouri for more than a decade!
Different people have different feelings about snow. I've always enjoyed the exciting adventure of it along with its picturesque beauty. However, as I grow older I also become more fearful of its danger … slipping and falling and breaking one or more bones. Ugh! But the young child in my aging body still grows gleefully excited when it snows.
Perhaps that excitement is attached to the sentiment of Christmas when we hear and sing, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" so "Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow." Easter, on the other hand, often marks the end of the snow season. However, many people have warned me about the very real possibility of snow up through Easter … and beyond when Easter is early as it is this year.
So, what does all this snow talk have to do with anything spiritual? The word "snow" appears 24 times in the English Standard Version translation of the Holy Bible. Perhaps the most meaningful snow passage is the one that ties Christmas and Easter together: "… though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow … ." (Isaiah 1:18 ESV)
The sinless Son of God, whose humble birth we celebrate at Christmas, is the holy Lamb of God, whose majestic resurrection from the dead we celebrate at Easter after His sacrificial death on Calvary's cross. Isaiah accurately captured our sinful-and-forgiven condition when he wrote, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6 ESV)
That's right! Almighty God, who is both just and merciful, performed the gracious exchange that St. Paul captured when he wrote, "For our sake he [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)
God has cleansed our sin-polluted selves with the crimson blood that Jesus shed on Calvary's cross and thereby made us white as snow. St. Paul further explains how that reality becomes our personal possession: "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:3-4 ESV)
Holy Baptism is the sacramental bath in which God scrubs us clean of our sins, declares us to be new creatures … His children, and sets us forth on a path of living the cleansed life according to His holy will that He reveals in His Holy Word, the Bible. It's what King David repentantly prayed for, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." (Psalm 51:7 ESV)
While many of us may be longing for spring's warm snowless days, let winter's cold snow remind us of the meaning of Christmas and Easter. Christ was born! Christ suffered and died! Christ rose from the dead! His victory over sin, death, and the devil secures forgiveness of sins, salvation, and eternal life in heaven for all who trust Him alone with Spirit-given faith.
"Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!"
This sermon is not copyrighted. It is God's gift to His Church for free and unrestricted use through me who am one of His many faithful servants. Please exercise the common courtesy of properly acknowledging its source should you use part or all of it for any purposes.
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