The excitement that used to surround a southern snow day is somewhat tempered when said snow day falls on an already declared school holiday, and in this day of virtual work and school, there is also less exuberance surrounding the spontaneous vacation mindset that comes with the threat of snow. Nevertheless, it is still a pretty exciting time when the southeast gets wind of the possibility of the white stuff descending from the skies. It is like manna from heaven for most of us. It is considered such a rarity, that even the grumpiest of folk find joy, at the very least, in watching others revel in the anticipation.
It is quite hilarious to watch southerners celebrate the possibility of sleeping late, while too excited to really sleep, even to the point of becoming delinquent at studying for upcoming tests or preparing for work presentations and meetings. Instead, we happily scurry to stock up on bread and milk, fill gas tanks and pull all of the candles and flashlights out of the cabinets, for what is, at most a day, maybe two of being homebound. But then, those who have been caught unaware in previous decade-separated anomalies of snow-pocalypses are the first to head to the grocery. My family definitely gets in on the merriment of anticipation, but in a far less practical way. We make sure the firewood is dry, then go for s’more and hotdog fixins to roast over the fire, we make sure sleds are accessible, charge all of our electronics and pull up our lists of movies we want to watch in preparation for the day at home, and the possible (likely) power outage. All of this for the (im)possibility of snow. In actuality, most of the time, we are all sorely disappointed at the lack of appearance of the beloved precipitation. On the occasion that we do actually get enough white stuff to cover the grass, the amount of sledding and constructed snowmen with a miniscule number of flakes, I’m sure led to the cliché “making something out of nothing”. Kids can slide in wet jeans and frozen hands on trashcan lids and plastic sleds for hours with the snow long-since gone and only the slicked down semi-frozen mud-grass combo left. It makes no matter, the whole neighborhood is outside, laughing, and participating or watching and chatting and loving it all the while. Hot chocolate and apple cider are consumed and for a moment jubilation overtakes practicality.
This joy of anticipation is a weak example of what believers in Jesus feel like as we anticipate the promised return of our King. He is coming back for us! We are instructed to “keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matt 24:42. We watch and we wait, knowing that when Jesus returns as triumphant King, He will gather those who believe in Him to take us to a place He has prepared for us. He tells us not to slumber but rather to be ready. “He will bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives” – those who are oppressed or imprisoned by the world/culture’s temptations, expectations or strongholds – “He will comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve” He will “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. [We] will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor” Isaiah 61:1-3/Luke 4:18-19. We will dance and rejoice and laugh and chat and worship the King who made the snow for southerners to catch the tiniest sliver of the euphoric celebration there will be when Jesus returns.