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by Sam Witherup PC


A Mantle of White

"The snow falls softly throughout the night,

Covering the world with a blanket of white"

          With all of the snowstorms we have been having lately, it seems to dominate conversation topics. I am a teacher and I am always concerned about any storm that alters my school day.

          I find there is something serene about a snow-covered landscape. Whenever it snows enough to cover my front lawn, the white blanket covers all of the imperfections of my yard. It fills in all of the holes and small gullies and covers all of the bare spots. The snow reflects much of the light at night, which brightens up the whole neighborhood.

         When I look out over my snow-covered yard, it looks so white, and so unspoiled. I hate to see tracks, animal or human, ruin the continuity of the smooth surface of the snow.

          Even though a snow scene is beautiful, it can be difficult to live with. It is slippery, cold, and melts to wet clothes. I don't know about you, but I've had enough shoveling the snow off my drive and walks to last me for a while. If we had to live with snow every day, then I would suppose it would become easier to negotiate our way around in our cars, and we would probably buy a snow blower: In other words, learn to live with it.

         Snow is quite similar to Christianity. It is beautiful, but hard to live being a Christian. Trying to live up to the example set by our Savior is extremely difficult since as humans, we often fail.
But why does snow remind us of Christianity? It does cover all of the imperfections and covers every square inch in dazzling white. Just like Gods forgiveness and love covers all of our imperfections.

         Snow is white and white is also representative of purity. One of the first references to white being symbolic of purity is found in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 9, verse 8:
Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. "

This is followed by Isaiah, chapter 1, verse 18:
"Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as the snow…"

         White as a symbol of purity is echoed throughout the New Testament also. Both Matthew and Luke describe the Transfiguration of Christ and agree that the clothes of Christ became "dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them". (Matthew 17:1-2, Mark 9:2-5, and Luke, 9:30) Also when Mary met the angel upon her visit to her son's tomb, the scriptures tell us that the angels were dressed in white. (Mark 16, verse5, and John 20: 12.) In fact, John informs us in Revelations, chapter 7, verse 14 ."I said to him, "Sir, you are the one that knows. Then he said to me, These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within His temple, and the One who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat: For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to the springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

This passage reminds me of the refrain from one of my favorite songs from the Civil War era,
Faded Coat of Blue.

"No more the bugle calls the weary one,

Rest noble spirit, in they grave unknown!

I'll find you and know you among the good and true,

When a robe of white is giv'n for the faded coat of blue."

Just as snow covers all imperfections and paints the world a beautiful unspoiled white, so does Christ's sacrifice on the cross redeem us, and God's love and grace covers all of our imperfections

So the next time the snow covers the streets and yards, let it remind you of our faith; where we all look forward to that day, when we can trade our faded Commandry coat of Black for a robe of White.

Fraternally yours in Christ,

Sam Witherup


(c) 2003 Sam Witherup - used by permission

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