Do you remember the words of Isaiah, words from the mouth of God? “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18). From scarlet to snow . . . quite the transformation. How could one become the other? How can the red of rebellion be washed by the white of holy ice? The answer God gives is beautifully mysterious: through a person given. The change of colors is the work of Christ.
I don’t think about this at Christmas. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m caught up in all the songs that talk about the joy of God’s coming, the wonder of arrival, the heralding of hope. Those things are all appropriate. But in the end, I think more about the entrance of God and less about the colors of my soul. But the coming of God would bring no comfort to a scarlet soul. It would only bring comfort if snow was promised.
But . . . it is. That’s what Isaiah writes. God promises to change our colors, from war-waging red to winter white. It’s in his coming, the coming of Christ, that God takes out a new palette of paint. Wetting his brush with words, he soaks his bristles in that winter white, and he starts waving over our reds. Gone are the lies and lusts, the dread and the doubt, the heavy fetters of unholy desires. Every whisper of want and thought of ill intent is covered over. All is white. All is white.
Christmas is our color change. A little infant makes his way out of a woman’s body, and God has arrived. In the world of spirits, snow has begun to fall with his first breath. Christ brings the snow of grace. It’s covering all the red souls meandering through the markets or cruising down the highway, asleep in their beds or running along the roadways. All the red souls are turning white.
When it comes to the soul, God does with the weather what we could never do in our dreams. The snow of grace comes down with Christ, like manna from heaven. “What is this?” The Israelites asked the same question in the wilderness. “It’s grace . . . just grace, enough to change your colors.”
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