Here in our part of Oregon, the snow is melting off as quickly as it came. But we had about ten days in the middle when it was a winter wonderland—making December 2008 our snowiest month since January 1950, four years before I was born.
This big snowy blob in our driveway is our Subaru wagon. Since I have a ten foot commute to my office, attached to our garage, transportation wasn't an issue.
They say Gresham, where we live, was hit harder than any part of the greater Portland area. A lot of Christmases merge together in the memory, but this was one of a kind for us. Unforgettable.
I took all the photos below on Christmas day when we got some of our best snow, hard and big flakes in huge numbers. I like best the picture of Darrell and Christy MacKay's house, across the street from us. That was our view on Christmas. Beautiful. The rest of the pictures are of our house and yard. The white door is to my office, which was formerly the Eternal Perspective Ministries office until we outgrew it two years ago.
When I experience something here on earth that is truly beautiful, like this snow has been, I think of how it will be on the New Earth. Peter says to his readers "we are looking forward to a new heavens and new earth" (2 Peter 3:13), but sadly many Christians don't seem to do that.
In the world to come, will we experience snowfall? Some have never thought about it, because they don’t think of Heaven as a real place, not on the New Earth, where we'll live as resurrected people. Or they assume the New Earth will have bright sunshine, no clouds, no rain, no snow . . . forever.
In a passage that promises rescue, security, and no more famine or fear for his people, God says, “I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops” (Ezekiel 34:26-27).
We’ll see trees bearing fruit on the New Earth. Will they be rained on? Presumably. Will rain turn to snow in higher elevations? Why not? If there’s snow, will people play in it, throw snowballs, sled down hillsides like we did as children, and did again with our grandsons last week? Of course. Just as resurrected people will still have eyes, ears, and feet, a resurrected Earth will have rain, snow, and wind.
Lightning, thunder, rain, and snow all declare God’s greatness (Job 37:3-6). Is there any reason to conclude such things, invented by our God, will not be part of the New Earth? None. Of course, no one will die or be hurt by such weather. No one will perish in a flood or be killed by lightning or an avalanche, and no one will drown in the river of life.
When we live on the New Earth, could we go hiking in a snowstorm without fear of trauma or death? Could we jump off a cliff into a river three hundred feet below? Could we stand in an open field in flashing lightning and roaring thunder and experience the exhilaration of God’s powerful hand? Must the New Earth be tamed, stripped of high peaks, deserts, waterfalls, and snowstorms because these sometimes caused pain and death in this world?
Surely nature, including variations in climate, will be a source of joy and pleasure, not destruction. If we stand amazed now at the wonders of God’s great creation, we’ll be even more amazed at the greater wonders of that greater and redeemed creation.
Nanci and I love the seasons, each of them. The crisp fall air, the brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds, the long good-bye to summer. The snow blankets of winter, the freshness and erupting beauty of spring, the inviting warmth of summer. Who are all those from? “God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season” (Jeremiah 5:24).
Here's a New Year's resolution to consider: Every time you see or experiencing something beautiful and wonderful in this world, from a loved one's smile to a wonderful meal and laughter to a snowfall or waterfall, wildflowers or animals, music or art, resolve to thank God that this fallen world is but a hint of what awaits us on the New Earth, the place He's preparing for us.
May we realize the whole creation will be redeemed by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:18-23). May we remind ourselves that this life isn't our last or best opportunity to enjoy planet earth, to the praise and glory of our God. May we remind ourselves daily that by far the best is yet to come in a world without evil, suffering or death (Revelation 21:4).
Will you join ranks with those Peter describes as looking forward to a new heavens and new earth, in which righteousness dwells?