Friday, February 01, 2013

It's snow unusual!

Last weekend I was speaking to a young Trinidadian medical student here in Northampton and asked her if it was the first time that she had seen snow. Her eyes widened and filled with excitement she began relating how it felt to touch the snow. The same day I sent a Radio programme to Randy Cornelius at the Harbour Light of the Windwards in Carriacou and in the email informed him of the snowfall and sub-zero temperatures here in the UK. He replied with an email saying that it had been cold in Carriacou, 72 degrees at night and 80 in the daytime, adding a smiley face. Why did I feel envious?

We had about three inches of snow and the country became chaotic! Five thousand schools were closed, which in itself was ludicrous. 1947 was one of the most severe winters in Europe causing major problems in fuel and food supply. I was twelve years old and I cannot remember our school being closed for one day, and none of the schools in the town closed. The stoical spirit of walking to school or to work through the snow kept things on the move and attendances high. With all the modern progress and technical aids we seem to be going backwards when it comes to dealing with snow related problems.

In the USA, the most snow during a winter was recorded at Rainier Ranger Station, Washington 1971 - 1972 where they recorded a total of 1122 inches. In the UK the deepest was near BWLCHGWYN, North Wales. 1.65M.
‘Impressive as the depths recorded in North America might seem, the deepest snow on earth accumulates in the Japanese Alps of Honshu Island around the 2,000-6,000’ level. The average annual snowfall is estimated to be in the 1200-1500” range In fact, these amazing snow depths are a singular tourist attraction since a highway that transects the mountains is kept open all winter. It is known as the Yuki-no-Otani Snow Canyon.’ (

The weight of snow on trees sometimes causes branches to break off and even the tree falling down, however it is not all bad news, a covering of snow over cultivated fields can insulate seed and crops from freezing and rotting. 
Some mountain ranges are subject to avalanches when tons of snow cascade down the slopes engulfing buildings and people who are caught in its destructive path. Other snow-covered mountains are much sort after by skiers and snow-boarders who take pleasure descending the slopes. Children love the snow and delight to throw snowballs at unsuspecting folk, or build a snowman with a carrot for a nose and two pieces of coal for eyes, a hat and a scarf placed on ‘Snowy the Snowman’ are the finishing touches to their work of art.

One obvious thing that I have not mentioned so far is the colour of snow. Its whiteness is the main characteristic of this phenomena, another is this, there are not two snowflakes that are the same in design. There are not two blades of grass the same; there are not two fingerprints the same. These facts illustrate the wonder and greatness of God’s creation; its variety, beauty, and majesty are evidence of the wisdom and glory of our great God and Saviour.

In Job 38 God asked Job many questions, such as those in verses 22 and 23, “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?”  The great storehouses of snow have been used against Napoleon and Hitler when attacking Russia, thwarting their murderous intents. Biblical theologian Matthew Henry comments,’ In the clouds the snow and hail are generated, and thence they come in such abundance that one would think there were treasures of them laid up in store there, whereas indeed they are produced extempore--suddenly, as I may say, and pro re nata--for the occasion. Sometimes they come so opportunely, to serve the purposes of Providence, in God's fighting for his people and against his and their enemies, that one would think they were laid up as magazines, or stores of arms, ammunition, and provisions, against the time of trouble, the day of battle and war, when God will either contend with the world in general (as in the deluge, when the windows of heaven were opened, and the waters fetched out of these treasures to drown a wicked world, that waged war with Heaven) or with some particular persons or parties, as when God out of these treasures fetched great hail-stones wherewith to fight against the Canaanites, #Jos 10:11.  See what folly it is to strive against God, who is thus prepared for battle and war, and how much it is our interest to make our peace with him and to keep ourselves in his love.  God can fight as effectually with snow and hail, if he please, as with thunder and lightning or the sword of an angel!’

Most Bible references say, “As white as snow”, I do like the one in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Through the precious red blood of Christ shed on the cross, God can cleanse the dark stains of sin from anyone’s life, and make them pure as the driven snow. It’s great to be saved! To know that all the offensiveness and guilt of one’s sin has been removed, never to spoil the white robe that is given to all believers (Revelation 6:11).

On the Mount of Transfiguration Christ was seen, Mark 9:2 reads, “And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.” His purity seen there is imputed to all who will be glorified with Him. Will you be whiter than snow in that day?  God bless.

Written by Stan Burdit for Stephen Baker

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