Now let me be perfectly clear. I like winter. I grew up in South Dakota. Winter is actually winter in South Dakota. We canceled school because the snowplows couldn’t get through the drifts. We had two hour delays to allow the students being delivered by snowmobile a bit extra time. 2.8 inches would not have gotten us a 2-hour delay. I like winter.
I love snow. I love the way it hangs on a tree and creates this amazing winter-wonderland scene. I love the coating of white that makes everything look so fresh. But especially and specifically… I love the way it covers up my backyard. My back yard is not pretty. The good news is that it doesn’t look a whole lot different in the winter — minus snow — than it does in the summer. The bad news is that it doesn’t look a whole lot different in the winter — minus snow — than it does in the summer. Dirt looks about the same all year-round.
So I like the way that snow covers up my backyard. The fresh whiteness looks so much better than what it hides underneath. Here’s the problem with the snow. I know what’s underneath the snow… and sooner or later the snow will dissolve and I will have to confront the realities of what lies under the snow. If my hope for a better yard lies in the covering of snow — snow hope — my hope won’t last. Because snow hope isn’t much better than no hope. Snow hope is a mask.
Most all of us wear masks — at least once in awhile. The mask wears well for a season — like snow — but sooner or later we find out that snow-hope is no hope. The mask dissolves and we are left with the realities underneath. As much as I like winter, I don’t want winter year around. Sometimes we need a break from working the yard but ultimately I want to play in my yard. I want health in my soil, growth in my grass, and a few less weeds. So ultimately I want to work — or at least I want somebody to work — my yard. Can’t do that with snow on the ground, anymore than my heart can be worked on when I’m wrestling to hang on to my masks.
It can be a scary moment when we get unmasked with others or with God…but the cool thing is that when we unmask and find out that we are still loved, the transformation begins. It’s not about working harder to please God, it’s about trusting God to work in me. That’s hope.
Part of the heart of the community we want to develop at Calvary, is to be a community where we can safely unmask to partner with others in the amazing business of hopeful transformation. Enjoy the snow, just don’t put your hope in it’s ability to transform.