My childhood home was in Jefferson, Iowa, a small rural community about 70 miles northwest of Des Moines. Winters there were bitterly cold, and snow blanketed the ground from December until March. Although the icy wind seemed almost unbearable at times, I always enjoyed a fresh snowfall.
After a big snow the town’s residents promptly shoveled their sidewalks and driveways, and city workers ploughed the streets. Unsightly footprints soon appeared in every direction. For a few hours, though, the new snow had a dazzling, pristine beauty. It was an easy thing for a child to find large sections of the yard unspoiled by human contact. My siblings and I were always eager to step into that fresh snow, lie back in it, and “make angels.”
The new year, 2017, is somewhat like a fresh snowfall. It sparkles with possibilities. No human footprint has yet marred it. In 2017, no one has spoken even one vulgar, rude, or impatient word. No one has coveted a neighbor’s spouse or money. No one has mistreated the poor or disabled. No one has despised a person for having a different skin color. No one has seen a neighbor in need and withheld compassion. No one has disrespected parents or carelessly wounded the tender feelings of children. No one has failed to pray, read the Bible, introduce a friend to Jesus, or attend worship.
The year 2017 is a beautiful opportunity to strive for greater wisdom, purity, integrity, love, joy, zeal, and faith. We will be tempted to tramp along, carelessly leaving ugly footprints everywhere. Instead, let’s resolve to make angels in the snow, to “walk in the same way in which [Jesus] walked” (1 John 2:6).