The wind tosses a lone tumbleweed across the barren fields as I look out into the grey twilight of morning. All evidence of the white Christmas we enjoyed a just two weeks earlier has long since disappeared, but in my memory I can still see the beautiful transformation of the prairie into a winter wonderland.
The snow began falling on December 23 and by mid day on the 24, eight inches covered the ground. We would get two more inches before Christmas morning, completely transforming the barren plains. The thick blanket of white obscured any and all harsh aspects of the landscape, turning piles of rotting vegetation in my garden into fluffy white mounds and old garden fences suddenly became beautiful accents against the white backdrop of winter.
As the snow covered the landscape, I was reminded of the grace that covers the bleakness and harshness of sin in my life and I wondered if my sins could really appear that white with the covering of grace. But the psalmist, David, proclaimed that the repentant heart could be washed even whiter than the snow.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin….Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51: 1, 2, & 7
So as I look out today at a landscape that is no longer white but brown and barren, I remember the snow and I pray that as I look inward upon my own life and the dull, brown stains of past sin, I will be able to remember the white covering of grace that transforms a repentant heart, and I pray that I will remember what grace looks like in both in my own life and in the lives of those around me.