Living in a northern state, I really enjoy snow. There are few cozier feelings in this world than snuggling up with a good book—across from a crackling fireplace—while the snow falls so hard you can’t see across the street.
In English, snow is simply called snow. We don’t have many other words for it. But the Inuit have around 50. And the Scots? According to the University of Glasgow, the Scots have 421 words for snow. Words like skelf, which is a large snowflake, or spitters for small, driving snow.
When I think of snow, I think of the blue glowing color it turns at dusk. But I also think of how blindingly bright snow can be in the sunshine.
Isaiah 1:18 says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”
When I ski in the winter, the snow is so bright that I have to wear sunglasses. But do you want to know something interesting? Snow isn’t white. Sure, it looks white. But in reality, it’s translucent. What makes it appear white is the way it reflects the light.
This makes me look at the verse in Isaiah with new eyes. Isaiah doesn’t say we’re whiter than snow because of anything WE’VE done. On our own, we can only become muddier and filthier till we are hopelessly stained in our sins.
Instead, we appear as white as snow because we reflect the LIGHT—the light of our Savior, who died to make us clean!