Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Trouble with White

It doesn’t feel so much like Christmas when it is 80 degrees outside.   So although I love living in South Carolina, I am always glad to head north for a few days over Christmas.  Being in New Hampshire for Christmas does not guarantee a white Christmas, but it does greatly increase my chances.

I remember my first winter in New Hampshire after growing up in Southern had been a brown and ugly December with only one very brief snow.  But on Christmas morning, we woke up to a beautiful, new world.  Our home looked like a perfect post card.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

In fact, when I lived in New England, I loved nothing more than to get up any morning and see the world covered with a white blanket.  It was so fresh, so clean, so perfect.  It meant an extra hour in my morning routine digging my car out, but I still loved fresh snow.

Those to whom snow is more than a screen saver know, however, that the perfect white blanket soon gives way to a mess.  Almost as soon as the snow hits the earth, a dirty salt mixture gets sprayed on the roads then scooped up into brown piles on the side of the road.  The salt and dirt mixture finds its way on to cars, into cars, on to people, and into buildings.  It’s a mess. 

Snow covered branches eventually give up their burdens and just hang there—barren and ugly.  If it doesn’t melt, the snow has to be raked off of roofs to keep them from caving.   

Life after snow is such a bummer.

That’s the trouble with white.  It doesn’t stay white.  Take my little white dog for example.  I’ll wash her, brush her, put perfume on her, and she will be the cutest little thing you ever saw in your life.  For about 10 minutes. 

Then she will go play in the dirt.  She loves to play in the dirt.  And the whiter she is, the more likely she is to go dig a hole into the muddy darkness.  For no reason.

It exasperates me sometimes, but it also reminds me of myself—washed whiter than snow, cleaned, forgiven—and prone to sin.  Desperately, hopelessly prone to sin. 

No sooner will I get white and clean then I will mar the beauty of purity—like I never even cared.  I will sin on accident.  I will sin on purpose.  I will go dig a hole. For no reason.  I’m a mess.

The trouble with white is that it doesn’t stay white.  And every stain shows.  If I brush up against my blueberry smoothie wearing a black sweater, no one will know.  But if I wear white, I most assuredly will brush up against it, and the rest of the day, the world will know I had a blueberry smoothie for breakfast.  That is the trouble with white.

And that is what Christmas is all about.  This world was a cursed and broken place.  God in His grace sent His son to die for us so that He could forgive our sin and make us whiter than snow.  Then that same grace causes filthy sinners like me to repent and be washed clean.

We can’t stay clean.  But for all repentant sinners, God forgives again.  And like a new winter morning, he will make us clean again.  Make us perfect again.  Give us a new beginning again.

God grace is an amazing thing and He has demonstrated it so beautifully in creation.  But even creation cannot do justice to the amazing grace of God toward sinners—He promises to make us even whiter than snow.

I believe every Christmas should be a white Christmas.  It should be a time when we come before the throne of grace and let go of the sin that has scarred our relationships and marred our lives.  It should be a time to be washed clean; to begin again; to be perfect. 

The miracle of Christmas is the miracle of grace.  Grace that takes selfish, sinful hearts and turns them whiter than snow.



Colleen Chao said...

Danielle! I looooove this! I'm so glad I stumbled upon a link to your blog, and I can't wait for your future posts. Your heart pouring out through your words is an encouragement and challenge to my own. Thank you, sweet friend!!

Anonymous said...

thanks so much for this post. :).

Love you