Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Paradox of Snow

"Baptism by Snow"

Crystalline spectrums of liquid light and life
Descend upon a lifeless but wanting face
Like messengers of so sweet a song,
Reminding with each kiss of icy breath that
The wintry dust promises a new day and a new me.

~Michael P. Van Gilst

I find snow to be a startling paradox of life and death. Water has, for all of time, been a symbol of life and renewal. Plants grow with water, humans are sustained by it, and Christians everywhere view baptism by water as a sign (or more than a sign) of covenantal rebirth…life. Yet snow arrives during a frigid time of the year that is symbolized by death with the hope of spring and new life just around the corner. And so we have snow, the birth child of water and freezing temperatures, a union of life and death.

They say there are no two snowflakes alike. I have no idea how anyone could ever prove that, but I can fathom it and I’m willing to concede the argument for the sake of this point: God’s majesty overwhelms me by the thought of something so paradoxical yielding something so intricately unique and beautiful. It encourages me when I think of all the times that God does things that don’t make sense to me, which is often. I remember the snowflake, the union that doesn’t make sense yet which is able, like no other aspect of creation, to scream aloud God’s creative genius by descending silently to the earth in subtle glory. And then I think of the fact that most of the snow in this world is never witnessed by human eyes. It’s almost as if God did it just to marvel at His own artistry and didn’t need us to validate it…imagine that.

I wouldn’t want snowflakes to make sense; if they did, they’d lose their wonder. As for God? Well, I may say I want God to make sense to me, but I don’t think that’s always true. If He always did, would I realize my need for Him? Would I realize my place in this world? Would I be forced to recon with the immeasurable distance between Him and me? Snowflakes make sense to God, and God makes sense to God. So, for now, I’m content to marvel at them both, not in spite of their mystery, but rather because of it.


Denise said...

Your questions lead to very wise reflections. I really appreciated reading them.

Mr. J said...

Hi Mike! So this may seem kind of wierd, but I found your blog by googling old WCS people in Blogger.

Your blog is amazing. Nice work! Maybe we could catch up over email? I caught your email address on the WCS 10-year reunion annoucment, so I'll send you a quick note.

Makaila said...

Keep up the good work.