Snowflakes- Heaven’s Purity and Grace
The Lord’s ways are in a tempest, and a whirlwind, and clouds are the dust of his feet. -Nahum 1:3
Accustomed to the northern winters of our country and having an admiration for a landscape covered with snow, once I asked myself: What would the reflection of God be expressed in snow? Since I didn’t know where to find an answer, I started to look for it making some simple observations.
What is the snow? We have snow, of course, when a sprinkle begins to fall from the sky in freezing temperatures, and instead of water descending to the earth, the clouds send us a white, light snowfall. Almost everything in the snowfall appears interesting to me.
It seems that when it begins, along with the snowflakes, an atmosphere of silence also falls on the earth. People are generally in their houses, the animals are quiet, and even nature seems to sleep, noiseless and tranquil, as it is covered with a white blanket of snow. This silence is certainly a factor that invites us to recollection, which invites us to think about higher things, the things of God, and our future life close to Him.
The purity symbolized by the snow is also remarkable. When we look upon a thick sheet of snow covering a valley or a mountain, without any dirt or filth in the panorama, the idea of purity seems to naturally come to our minds.
Noteworthy as well is the innocent beauty of the snow. In the countryside we note how even simple roofs, benches, fences, and walls that receive a coating of snow become beautiful. Creeks, lakes, parks, and forests, and the ugliest tree branches with a layer of snow appear handsome and noble. At times they can look like crystal branches of paradisiacal trees, and they invite us to admire God Who placed that exquisite marvel there for an ephemeral moment to be contemplated by men and angels.
What is the value of snow for man? Sometimes it is useful because when it melts, it fills our aquifers and lakes with fresh, much needed water for crops. In the mountains, it melts in the Spring and cascades down, sometimes in the form of waterfalls and sometimes in the meandering creeks, but always providing something beautiful and useful for mankind. Melting snow provides a home for the fish, refreshing drink for wildlife, and fresh water for the plants so they will bloom in the spring.
What do we know about the actual snowflake? A man named Wilson Bentley (1865-1931) from Jericho, Vermont became a famous photographer of snowflakes. He was a farmer in a part of our country where it snowed a great deal and he became fascinated with the snowflake. In the 1800’s, with simple photographic equipment and the natural light of the overcast sky, he photographed over 5,000 snowflakes. Although he had no formal schooling, he worked his farm, researched snowflakes and photographed them, wrote and published 60 articles on weather, the formation of dew, clouds, the effect of frost on cobwebs, and other topics. He also learned to play the piano, clarinet and was even in a local marching band. Here was a man who made good use of his time and talents! We are grateful to him for his work because without it we wouldn’t so easily be able to marvel at the great beauty and variety of the snowflakes. No two have ever been found to be alike.
This is another marvelous thing about the snow, which reflects the grandeur and magnificence of God in the diversity of His Creation. Can you imagine the millions and zillions of snowflakes that fall in just one winter and one place on earth? And no two snowflakes are alike. No mere man, however creative or ingenious, could be a comparable architect of even one snowfall.
When one remembers that God, Who is the author of all creation, has filled our world with His beautiful secrets, then everything becomes an exciting quest. We know with certainty that if we open our eyes to view creation with an eye toward Heaven, what we find will be awe-inspiring. Certainly snowflakes are!
The snow crystals on this page are photographs of real snowflakes. More pictures and information about the unique method used to capture their fleeting beauty can be found at:
Jericho Historical Society: http://snowflakebentley.com/