Weather fronts fascinate me. I love to watch a good thunderstorm roll in, a wall of black cloud against the sky, the atmosphere full of wind and lightning. The line between calm and storm can sometimes be so well-defined that it looks like God took out a ruler to draw it in the sky. The stark change of temperature that comes with a new front can give me goosebumps. There is nothing like weather to make me keenly aware of God’s power.
If you’ve been following the weather news over the past few days, you know that we had a huge snowstorm swirling over the Twin Cities all day yesterday. The front that came through here dumped half as much snow on us in 24 hours as we had all last winter. The snow on our back deck is about 13 inches deep right now. Yes! This is why we love living in Minnesota: winter is really winter here. Once the plows come through to scrape up the last bits of packed snow, we can settle down to Winter As It Was Meant To Be, and a white Christmas is pretty much a sure bet.
Our first winter here in Minnesota, I noticed that people were a little jumpy, easily offended, and even grumpy when we didn’t have snow by Thanksgiving. Something just wasn’t quite right. Then the first snow fell, and everyone relaxed, let out a sigh of relief, and got back to work. Once the weather front had moved through, everyone knew what to expect. Everyone knew it was finally winter, and winter is a known commodity here. We can deal with it.
What follows the snow, though? What happens when the clouds have exhausted their moisture, the barometer goes back to normal, and the sky is blue again? When, exactly, does that happen, anyway? Why is the coming storm so much easier to detect than its aftermath? Why is the approaching front so much more impressive than the trailing vapor of calm that sneaks in behind the blizzard?
You might be wondering what all this nonsense about the weather has to do with Advent, with Waiting, with God coming near to us as one of us in the Person of Jesus. I’m not going to insult you by giving you an answer. Just think about it for a bit. Wait in the expectancy of an approaching front. Wait as the clouds vaporize into nothing. Keep waiting …
Where do you find God? Is he most evident in the power of an approaching wall of cloud? Does God make himself known to you mostly during the storm? Do you find God in the calm stillness that follows the wind and weather?