I will never look at snow the same way again.
Up until last Saturday, my nickname for snow was “The Silent Killer.” For me, a California native transplanted into the four seasons (and I’m not talking about the hotel) I found snow to be nothing more than a nuisance; an uncooperative house guest that stayed three months too long and talked about staying on for four.
I wasn’t always this way. As I child, my parents would whisk us up to the mountains to visit the snow each Christmas. We’d ski, sled, catch snowflakes on our tongues and become very well acquainted with our new best friend, Swiss Miss. My moon boots were novel, the wood burning fires were mesmerizing, and the snow made everything feel, well, magical.
Then I grew up, became a parent and actually moved to “the four seasons.” Then I had to drive in the snow. Then I had to shovel the snow. Then I had to be cold in the snow. Welcome to the winter of my discontent. I kept telling my husband I was not in my “natural habitat.” What did he expect?
But then something happened. We woke up on Saturday morning to find our entire world covered in glistening white snow, the first fall of the season. The sky was a brilliant blue and the sun made every leaf and lawn gleam. I could practically hear chimes tinkling like crystal as we gazed out our window with the kids, all still wrapped up in our blankets.
Now why would this particular snowfall melt me? It was the morning of my daughter’s baptism.
Never before had snow help such beautiful symbolism for me. Pure, clean, white. All the adjectives we use to describe the ordinance of baptism had just happened to our entire neighborhood!
I’ll never forget holding my darling girl in my arms as we watched the rising sun touch down on the wonderland before us and explaining how the atonement is a lot like this snow. The snow took an ordinary plot of land like our toy littered backyard and turned it into something dazzling and pristine. Likewise, the Savior takes us, ordinary people, and though the atonement, helps us transform into Saints, steadfast and immovable, pure and delightsome, a beautiful version of ourselves we didn’t even know was possible.
In that same moment I shared with my daughter the scripture in Isaiah, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” I told her I knew she did not have tons of sins to wash away that day, but her baptism would be valid for life and would continually wash away her sins and make her “white as snow” as she honored her covenants with the Lord throughout her life.
“I hope you will always remember that it snowed on your baptism day! What a beautiful symbol of being made clean! Not only is your dress white, the whole town is white for your big day!” I told her in a warm embrace.
Funny as it seems, everything was warm that day, despite the cold.
The chill set in the next day when she realized she had inadvertently eaten a ton of snow on her very first fast Sunday! “Has my hand slipped off the iron rod already?!” she gasped in horror. Poor thing. Her very first fast Sunday was the one Sunday a year that’s 25 hours long.
Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary, free-lance writer, wife, and the mother of five small children. Read more at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com