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Thursday, December 22, 2016

12.22.16 // Expecting the Messiah: Scarlet and Snow

Ok, so I apologize in advance, but I’m going to begin with a gross analogy.

My family recently moved to Iowa. My husband is studying at a university here, and we made our big move in August. The one thing I was most anxious about was winter. Yesterday was the first official day of winter. Coming from Louisiana, the first day of winter is not anything special. In fact, it may even be 80 degrees on December 21 in Louisiana! That’s not really Christmas-y, but it’s a fact for many southern states. However, the first day of winter is not really special in Iowa either because…it has been under 30 degrees for a month now! The cold weather begins in October! On Sunday, the wind chill was -33 and the high was -3! What?? That’s like 60 degrees colder than what Louisiana typically experiences. I was right to fear the winter.

However, that cold weather brings something beautiful…snow! Something that this Louisiana girl has experienced about twice (before moving to Iowa!). Louisiana snow is realllllly different than Iowa snow. Louisiana “snow” is heavy and wet and stays on the ground for about 30 minutes. Iowa snow is light, fluffy, beautiful, and stays on the ground for weeks! It’s cold, but it is really beautiful. The first night snow was in the forecast here, I stayed up until 1:20am just because I wanted to see the first flurries! In Louisiana, if a “wintry mix” is in the forecast, the whole state shuts down. In Iowa, snow in the forecast is common, and life, work, school, etc. continue during the downpour.

So, as I said, the snow is beautiful. It really looks like a fluffy white blanket across our apartment complex grounds. A beautiful fluffy white blanket all except for…the bright yellow dog pee. Sorry, that’s the gross part! Everyone in our complex owns a dog. Literally everyone. There are dogs everywhere! And while the snow is beautiful, the yellow spots of dog business are not! The first time I noticed it, I was appalled, but then quickly thought, well I guess the dogs still have to do their business, but it’s definitely highlighted in the snow!...

As I continue to think about why Jesus came, I’m reminded of this verse:

Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

As white as snow! What a beautiful picture! But then, the tainted picture of the Iowa snow comes to my mind. The nasty dog pee. Our disgusting sinfulness. No, our sin is not described as dog business like my analogy of the snow. Rather, it is something more staining and permanent. Blood. Our sin has stained our hearts over and over again. It is a stain that we can do absolutely nothing about. It is a stain that we have caused. It is stain that we can attempt to hide, but it is still there. Yet, it is a stain that CHRIST HAS REMOVED because of His bloody sacrifice on a cross that we deserved! It is a stain that can be washed as white and pure as snow if we will humble ourselves before the King of Kings and accept His offering of reconciliation with God. It is a stain that Jesus made a costly payment for! It is a stain that can be washed as white as snow! 

So, this Christmas season, with Christmas only days away. I pray that you will live in freedom, not shame. I pray that you will remember that Jesus truly paid it all and that your sinful stains have been washed clean! I pray that you will be an ambassador for Christ this Christmas season to someone who believes that their sinful stains will forever be a permanent cause of shame. We know that is a lie from the adversary. Tell the truth to someone who desperately needs to hear it! It is beautiful! It is incomprehensible! And it is for sinners like you and me! And I pray that you’ll remember the snow analogy because we need the reminder of how disgusting our sin is not to shame ourselves but rather to remind us that we don’t need to keep choosing the sins that so easily entangle us because while they may seem appealing, they are truly disgusting!

Praise the Lord that your sins have been washed as white as snow, and live a life of freedom, purity, and obedience!

Merry Christmas!

Always, Jacquelyn

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