What’s in your snowball?
I’ve been thinking about snowballs a lot lately. It might have started when I opened email from several different friends and saw was a snowball headed straight for me. Maybe these thoughts of snowballs was prompted by a text from my grandson, Tyler, stationed in Virginia, saying “I want snow for Christmas”. I texted him back with a photo of our back yard with the inscription “I think we can comply.” Why do we love snow? It’s not because we love the challenges it presents. It’s not because shoveling snow is our favorite form of exercise. I’ve never heard anyone say they get a ‘snow scoop high’ like runners who are passionate about their sport. It’s got to be something else, something intangible like an emotion reminiscent of blissful times in our past.
This has to be where the infatuation with snow starts – snow memories! Laying in the snow, fanning out arms and legs to make the perfect snow angel; trudging to the peak of the tallest hill to descend at warp speed on your slick-bottomed toboggan, to only repeat the process a dozen times; rolling snowballs from the tiniest ball to the burgeoning base of what would become a giant snowman; and among the most favored of all activities – the snowball fight. What does it take to make a good snowball? From the tiniest clump of snow, the gigantic snowman is formed.
Think of it! Just like not all activities are alike, neither are the properties of snow alike. If the snow is too wet, it will fall apart. If the snow is like powder, it won’t hold together. If the temperatures outside are too cold, the snow is totally inert as far as rolling and packing a high quality snowball. Snow needs to have warmth to hold together and form a strong bond. Have you ever considered that lives are like snowballs? We have this clump in our hands; a day visible but motionless until we begin to roll around in activity.
Are we the coldest snow, its crystals sparkling in the air and falling silently to the ground in a magical blanket of glistening white, but won’t hold together when pressed and rolled? Are we passive toward warming up and reaching out to others? Do we make an effort to form relationships? It doesn’t specifically say anything about warming up, but I like what the Message translation describes in Galatians 6:4-5 “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
The best snowballs are formed when the snow has just the right amount of moisture, and warmth to keep it together. 1 Corinthians 14:6 “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Do all you can to build each other up”. From the tiniest clump of snow, the gigantic snowman is formed.
I remember a movie from years ago that had a memorable quote “If you build it they will come.” There is truth behind that belief and it’s supported in Proverbs 21:21 “The one who pursues what is right and kind, finds a life of love, bounty, and honor.” If we pursue warmth, spread kindness, and build each other up through encouragement and love, our relationships will hold together and grow stronger.
We can’t control the temperature outside, nor can we control the condition of the snow. But we can control the temperature of our reactions to circumstances and adjust the way we treat each other. We need a blueprint for navigating life and instruction on how to interpret it. Isaiah 30:20-21 “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”“
Next time you think about snow and making the perfect snowball, I hope you think about what’s in your snowball. As you roll are you filling it with kindness, love, and acceptance toward others? Is the result rooted in a desire to walk in the way that pleases God? This is what he says in Isaiah 57:14-15 “God who rules forever and whose name is holy says, “Build it! Build it! Clear a way! Remove all the obstacles out of the way of my people! I dwell in an exalted and holy place, but am also with the discouraged and humiliated, in order to cheer up the humiliated and to encourage the discouraged.”
Ready for that snow today? Let’s get out there!