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I can hardly see into the woods in the backyard of the parsonage! The snow is falling fast and furious. In the dim new darkness of night the falling snow is like a curtain.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. The weather outside is frightful. Sleigh bells ring, are you listenin’? In the lane snow is glistnin’.

Scholars question whether Jesus was born in the winter. Let them question all they want. For me and perhaps for you, I picture Mary holding the newborn infant close to her to keep her baby warm. The stable is cold, but this new mother will let nothing chill her precious child. Joseph looks on, trying not to fall asleep. When Joseph exhales you can see his breath the winter air. The cattle are lowing.

The word “snow” appears 25 times in the King James Bible. The skin color of leprosy is compared to snow’s whiteness. Mountains in the ancient world could keep their snow into the warmer seasons. More importantly, our sins – blood-red scarlet, are white as snow when God’s mercy bleaches them. God has a big storage shed in heaven from which he blankets the earth with snow. He is certainly not holding back tonight!

“In the bleak midwinter[1] frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone, snow had fallen, snow on snow, in the bleak midwinter long ago.”

God could have made it easier. Maybe mid-May, you know. Before the black flies came out. Before the mosquitoes started to hatch. He could have made Christmas in the time of sweet evenings with peepers peeping, and irises blooming. But he came as Immanuel when it was hard. You tell me why.

When you clear the snow today and the sharp winter cold bites into your hands, think about this God of ours. He puts an easy yoke and light burden on us, but on his own shoulders splinters from a cross cut his muscle. On his brow thorns from a crown pierce. From the skin of his back lacerations from the whip cry out.

What do you want us to know, Lord?

Jesus shivered. His young mother cuddled him. His father watched transfixed.

It is Christmas.

“Angels and archangels may have gathered there, cherubim and seraphim thronged the air, but only his Mother in her maiden bliss worshiped the Beloved with a kiss.

What can I give him?

Poor as I am? If I were a Shepherd, I would bring a lamb, if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part,

Yet what can I give him?

Give my heart.”

Please pray with me. “Dearest Lord, we have lots we could give him. Help us to give him what he most desires, our hearts. Wrench us free from the love of lesser things, and help us turn over to Jesus our hearts, promptly and sincerely. Amen.”

With you my sins have been changed from grit and grime to the whiteness of fresh snow,