Are you dreaming of a White Christmas? This time of year, lots of us do find ourselves longing for the snowy scenes we remember from our childhood Christmases – especially if we’ve since been transplanted to warmer climes!
It’s awe-inspiring to watch those great big fluffy flakes – no two alike – come drifting out of the sky. A good snowfall can transform our dull, ordinary, everyday world into something out of a fairy tale – a winter wonderland. Even the ugliest of buildings, the dirtiest of streets, all the garbage and junk and clutter we accumulate in our daily lives can be completely covered — hidden — under a beautiful, pristine, powdery blanket of snow.
Maybe that’s what the psalmist was thinking of when he asked God to forgive him for the sin in his life – to cleanse him of his guilt and shame and cover him with a blanket of mercy and grace.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin….Cleanse me… and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:1,7)
It can only happen because of Christmas. Because God sent His only Son. The baby born in a manger grew up to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (John 1:29) Because Jesus died on the cross and took the punishment for our sin in our place, all the sin, all the guilt and shame, all the ugliness in our hearts has been covered. Not just covered. It’s been purged. Blotted out. Cleansed. Washed away.
“’Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” (Isaiah 1:18)
Whenever I read this verse, I’m awestruck that God is the one calling to us, reaching out to us, offering us hope and healing, peace and reconciliation — when we’re the ones who have offended Him. We’re the ones who have sinned against Him. But He doesn’t wait for us to come to Him. He comes to us and says: “Let me forgive you. Let me put that behind you. Let me give you a fresh start and a new heart!”
His forgiveness is a gift of grace — with no strings attached. We know don’t deserve it. And there’s nothing we can do to earn it.
All we do is receive it…. and receive it… and receive it. As often as we ask for it. As often as we admit we need it.
And then share it with others. Extend it to others.
This Christmas, when we see the snowflakes falling in a favorite movie or on a greeting card – or in our front yard – let’s remember to thank God for His precious gift to us. Because of Jesus, we can be made new. Each and every day we can have a fresh start, clean hands and a clean heart. (Psalm 24:3-4)
Cleaner, purer, brighter, whiter … than snow.
Christian recording artist Twila Paris sings a beautiful arrangement of the song “White Christmas” blended with the praise and worship chorus “Whiter Than Snow.” If you’ve got a couple minutes, give it a listen!