Cold Beauty
By Anthony Casperson

This past week, the first cumulative snow of the season fell where I live. Watching the flakes of frozen precipitation waft down to the ground, I stood in awe of the beauty that God had created. But in that moment, my mind reveled in the beauty all the more because of the contrast of the world around and the beauty of the falling snow.

In this season where darkness reigns, the warmth of the light lessens, and creation withers and dies around us, God is able to create beauty. Even in the midst of death and decay, God is able to bring beauty to bear.

Even more interesting is the fact that without the darkness, without the cold, without the reminder of death, the beauty inherent in a light snowfall would be impossible to witness. It wouldn’t exist if the season of cold darkness didn’t exist.

Some followers of Jesus, who have a scientific bent, believe that before The Flood, during the time of Noah, there was a vapor canopy that kept the whole planet more arid than it currently is. Meaning that a season of cold, a.k.a. winter, didn’t exist until after the heavens opened up and poured forth judgement upon the human race, destroying all but righteous Noah and his family (Gen. 5-9; 2 Pet 2:5).

But even if one doesn’t hold to the vapor canopy theory, that reference to Noah does point out that rain is a symbol of God’s judgement upon the world. (And snow is just solidified rain in crystalline form.) God poured out judgement upon the world, flooding the whole planet, and started over with Noah’s family.

It’s because of God’s judgement against the sin of the world that snow exists. God, in his infinite creativity, made beauty come out even in a symbol of his judgement. A beauty that would never have existed had the darkness of humanity’s sin not come to be.

I’m not trying to say that sin, death, and decay are beautiful. Rather, I’m saying that God is so glorious, so incredible, so awesome, that even in something he abhors, he can show us his beauty through it. It’s God who is beautiful.

But the creativity of God through snow doesn’t end there. God uses snow as an example of what the lives of his followers will look like. Isaiah 1:18 says that though our “sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” The purity of snow is an image of us who are followers of Jesus. An image brought about because of judgement, becomes an image of our purity in this beautiful masterpiece of God’s plan to bring his creation back into right relationship with him.

Makes you think about the cross. This implement of death, destruction, and punishment becomes the image of freedom, life, and love for those of us who are followers of Jesus. As God’s wrath for our sins rained down upon the second Person of the Trinity on the cross, Jesus was an image of the beauty of God’s love for his fallen creation.

God is able to create beauty from the death that was caused by sin. It’s an amazing thought. God is so beautiful.

And for those of us who find ourselves in the midst of a season (year?, years?, lifetime?) of darkness, this should bring us hope and joy. Even when we shiver in the depths of darkness, God’s beauty can still reach us. And where God’s beauty is found, so is he.

In this season where darkness reigns, the warmth of the light lessens, and creation withers and dies around us, the beauty of God can still be found. A beauty that we could never see if we weren’t in the darkness.