As an adult and a pastor, I still appreciate the beauty of a snowfall, but I also dread the shoveling and inevitable interruptions to my schedule (as well as my sometimes comical attempts to get my decidedly “not in love with snow” rat terrier to take a walk for the sake of her bodily functions!)
As a Jesus-follower, though, I must remember that my attitudes toward snow should mirror those of a child, not a grumpy old man. Children dance with joy in the snow, sticking out their tongues to catch what a church sign in town recently called “kisses from heaven.” Rosy-cheeked children may look awkward in their over-padded snowsuits and appear frost-bitten to their overly protective parents, but they know deep in their hearts that snow is a gift of grace from above. It’s us all-too busy adults who have declared it to be a “bah humbug” event as we groan about the inconveniences brought on by the onslaught of a snowstorm rather than celebrating the possibilities for play and a break from our regular routines.
So on this Lord’s Day, January 24, 2016, I pledge to give thanks for the snow all around us. To not bemoan opportunities lost but to shout with the children of our community, “Thank you God!” and to see the new opportunities for joy all around us.
In Job 37:5-7, God’s Word says, “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, “Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor.”
Did you hear verse 7? “So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor.” Boy, did I need a stop from my labor. Just last night I was looking out the window at the falling snow, and I said to Lydia, “It is good that there are events like this that put us in our place.” We, who God has made, can’t stop the snow from falling. We attempt to stem its effects with snow plows and chemicals. But in the end, the only thing that conquers the army of a billion snowflakes is the warmth of the sunshine God sends from above.
Snow is a reminder that, for all our pride in human achievement, God is still in control.
Let’s all enjoy a day of rest. If you have family around you, take the time to get to know each other again. Play. Sing. Take a walk. Then sit down and pray together to the One who made it all possible.
Here are some snow day devotional ideas for you and your family:
- Read Psalm 147:15-18: “He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.”
Where does the snow come from? Who designs every flake? What does the snow tell you about God? What is its purpose? What are your favorite memories of winter? Share stories.
- Read Psalm 148:7-13: “Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted.”
Who is meant to praise the Lord? How does snow praise God? How can we praise Him today?
- Read Isaiah 55:9-11: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
What is the purpose of snow? What does it do for the earth? In these verses, God compares rain and snow to what? What does His word do? Why should it be important to us?
Discuss how each snowflake is a new creation of God. If God takes such great care to design each flake, how much more care did He take in designing you? Read Psalm 119:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
If you have children, ask them to identify the gifts that God has given them. Take this opportunity to love your child with encouragement, with statements like, “I love how God put sensitivity on your heart. You care deeply about others.” Or, “I love how God made you aggressive. You will fight for what is right and I am proud of that.”
- Read 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.”
Think about a time you went ice skating or walked on ice. Discuss how hard it is to stand firm on a slippery surface. It takes a lot of practice, balance, and hard work. It is also difficult to stand firm in this world of sin. The same characteristics are needed to not fall. What can we do as a family to help you stand firm in your faith? Will you be willing to help me be courageous in mine?
Read Psalm 121: 2-4, “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”
When you take a walk in the snow, observe your own. Spell out words in the snow for others to read. Look for other prints also and attempt to identify them.
- Read Psalm 77:18-20, “Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
Discuss how God saved the Israelites from the Egyptians. Were God’s footprints seen? How did they know that it was Him who was saving them? Though God doesn’t leave visible footprints, He does direct our steps and assures us that He is there. How does He do that? Have you ever felt God with you? What was that like?
Can you think of someone whose footprints you would like to follow? For example, someone who loves God and shows it with his or her life? Tell me what you notice about that person. We all need good examples in our lives. Write a thank you to that person.
What about us? Are we making footprints that follow God or are we leading others in a wrong direction? Who may be following us? Who can we be a good example for?
Thank you to Kristin Charles of ministry-to-children.com for many of the ideas contained in this devotional guide for a snowy day.