Winter White – Revealed


They say that every snowflake is different.
If that were true, how could the world go on?
How could we ever get up off our knees?
How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?”
Jeanette Winterson

Frozen, starry, water crystals fill my heart with mystery and awe.  A most common compound, flown through the air by frigid winds, combines its particular journey to earth with perfect beauty.  Science and art collide in delicate and consistent angles rivaled by little else.  That no one has found two identical snowflakes compounds the earthly miracle.

In Winter White, there are three pairs of the words stars and one; not six distinct entities, but three descriptions of two: Man and God, the created and Creator, innumerable stars and the One God of the Abrahamic Covenant.

The God of surging power works on behalf of all his created children, not only those who love and acknowledge him.   He lifts them all to himself, even as they are intent on earthly pursuits and unaware of his care, through his resurrection, in which he triumphed over the death and decay that grasp the world he created by his breath.

I could write more.  Much more.  Poetry is the art of brevity, imagery, and word choice– three of the reasons that I enjoy it so much.  The explanation of the poem’s 19 lines takes the following long list.  (Phrases are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.)

  • Stars – snowflakes, believers and seekers of the Abrahamic covenant: descendants that outnumber the stars (Gen 15:5; Gen 22:17)
  • One surge, one frost, one breath – Trinity
    • Surge: power, working on behalf of everyone, one wind floats all snowflakes (Mat 5:45)
    • Frost: makes the snowflakes and freezes the decay on earth killing bacteria and insect eggs; cold, new, untamed, sometimes harsh, and wild (1 Cor 15:50-56)
    • Breath: creative Word spoke everything into being (Gen 1; John 1:1-5) ; breath of God, still small voice (1Kin 19:11-13)
  • Enthralled – both enslaved (original meaning of “thrall is “slave”), unable to escape God; and at the same time in a love relationship (2 Cor 4:5)
  • Each and together – dichotomy of the individual life and being inter-dependent in community
  • Free to fly – snowflakes seem to be free, but are really powerless, subject to the wind, and ultimately gravity
  • Birthed the stars – actual stars, snowflakes, and descendants of Abraham (physical and spiritual birth) who inherit the New Covenant through Jesus (Heb 2:5-18)
  • Illumined them – lit the stars, put the light of Christ in us (2 Cor 4:5-6)
  • Killed deep decay – death and sin defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:5; Hos 13:14)
  • Leaf and frond motionless lay – all creation is subject to God for life and sustenance… and grace (Col 1:15-17)
  • Concealed and covered in thick grace – none of my sin sticks out from under the covering of His righteousness; in fact, unlike snow that covers over death, his grace wipes my sin completely away (Eph 1:7)
  • Around the pond – community, individuality of flakes or droplets is lost in the vast beauty of community (Eph 4:11-14)
  • Warm vapors rising – the prayers and good works of…  (Rev 5:8)
  • From melted stars – …of the saints, melted together as the Bride, and the Kingdom of God in unity (Rev 19:6-8)
  • That wait and long – for Christ to come again, and… (Ps 107:6-9; Mar 13:24-27)
  • For one breath over them – …and also the Holy Spirit to communicate (Job 37:10; Eze 37:7-14)
  • A still small whisper – the still small voice Elijah heard, as well as communication from the Bible, the Living Word (1Kin 19:11-13; 1 Pet 1:22-25)
  • In winter white – purity over the death of autumn (Ps 51:7-12)
  • Speaks a mirror of perfect peace – how God changes a pond to an icy mirror– ripples into calm– giving peace even in the midst of trouble (Isa 26:3-4)
  • On the earth all is bright – allusion to Luk 2 and Silent Night, the coming of Jesus restores what the enemy stole in the Garden of Eden

I am a northern girl.  I love snow, especially the blizzard variety (and until snowshoes are required it doesn’t really count).  While I love snowflakes and all-things-winter, Winter White is ultimately about the relationship between God and man– the relationship that Immanuel, God with us, came to restore.

May you be covered in his thick grace.


~ by cathyhowie on December 26, 2012.

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