Snow and the greatest of all miracles
Snow! It is just a dusting already turning to rain but nevertheless a beautiful sight exciting the heart of an old man who is still a little boy at the core. In just an hour, the grey shades of late fall are covered with whiteness. Forget the brush, weeds, eroded gullies, dilapidated sheds, Fords and Chevys up on blocks, and rotting trunks of fallen trees. For a moment we get a reprieve from the ugliness of mud, rust, and decay and see only white covering everything outside our cozy home.
How glad I am to be up at 6:12 AM! I started tossing at 4:00 AM—quoting Scripture, praying, and longing for another deep dive into the arms of Morpheus. But no—it never happened so here I am in my lazy boy writing about the joy of snow.
Last night I re-read J I Packer’s chapter “God Incarnate” in his Knowing God, my second favorite book in the world. I continue digesting his reflections on the significance of the Incarnation which he says is the greatest miracle of all. Skeptics question the biblical teaching of the virgin birth, the atonement, the resurrection, and the ascension—all miracles, for sure. But the Incarnation is a different kind of miracle. It is not in the same category as healing the sick, feeding 5000 with one small lunch, or even the raising of the dead. The Incarnation is an act of God that no one could have expected or even prayed for.
We experience human needs for health, food, shelter, and safety. We pray for these things by the blessing of God. But before the Incarnation who could have anticipated God becoming flesh and living among us? Who could have imagined the eternal Word bringing us the greater gifts of grace and truth?
We, humans, have always had the law in our consciences and--since Mt. Sinai--in the Scriptures, but it only showed us our need for mercy. How would we ever measure up? Impossible.
There was a promise that the offspring of the woman would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15). Who was that offspring? How would he overcome the serpent?
The answer came in the Incarnation. The baby in the manger was the promised seed of the woman. He was truly a man but truly God. He was the God-man. His long-awaited coming exceeded all expectations. The eternal Word became flesh and brought us grace and truth. He came to His own and they refused to receive Him, to recognize Him. But to all who did receive Him He gave power to become the children of God (John 1:12).
What about our sin? That Incarnate One, Jesus Christ, was also called “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” He did not come to condemn the world; the law already did that. He came that the world through Him might be saved. That is why the angels sang, the shepherds praised God, the wise men worshiped, and Herod shuddered at His birth. The Incarnation changed everything.
Looking out at the snow I remember that Isaiah had a comforting word from God:” …though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). No. God has not suspended His holy law and perfect justice. In the Incarnation, God the Son came to bring grace and truth to all who receive Him, who believe in His name.
How? By giving His life for His sheep and taking our sin upon Himself. His resurrection certifies that He accomplished it. His ascension shows that He reigns on high and is preparing a place for us. If that is hard to believe, start with the Incarnation. If God appeared in human form what will He not do to cleanse sinful hearts and make them as white as snow?
celebrate Christmas. That excites my heart even more than snow.
May the joy of the greatest of all miracles be yours as you celebrate Christmas.