The Wonder of Snow

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No two snowflakes are alike. These amazingly complex
demonstrations of God’s handiwork are absolutely unique, shaped by
a complex interchange between temperature, moisture conditions, and
how the snowflake is blown around during its descent from sky to
ground.

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Children are like snowflakes. No matter how similar two children
appear to be, their histories — how they’re blown about by life —
can never be exactly the same. Tiny variances make a difference in
the snowflakes and spiritual formation of children, too.

Each week, the experience of a Bible story or song, a craft, or
playtime changes the atmospheric conditions in a child’s life. How
these experiences play a part in forming an individual child’s
spiritual life is as unpredictable as the flakes formed in a single
snow flurry.

Just as it can take an unbelievably long two hours for a
snowflake to come to rest in a snowdrift, it takes a long time to
know how our loving and teaching is impacting a child or what the
result of our efforts will be. A small kindness here, extended
patience there, or taking the time to understand the sound
substitutions in a 3-year-old’s speech — all these little things
help a child form impressions about God.

Easter reminds us that God is constantly renewing, restoring,
and redeeming. Perhaps you minister to some children who already
need to see God’s resurrection power in their young lives or in the
lives of their parents. In that case, it’s good to know one other
thing about snowflakes. The most beautiful and complex among them
are the ones that are tossed about in the wind the longest, adding
depth and dimension to their original crystalline structure.
Sometimes a vision of future beauty gives us enough hope to
persevere and go the extra mile with a child who tests our
endurance, while God is at work crafting beautiful things from
confusion.

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I pray that this season of springtime renews each of our
commitments to watching God’s handiwork through the tools of
puzzles, paintbrushes, and picture books as we create a space in
which children can grow according to God’s design. (Check out an
amazing collection of snow crystal photos at
www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/photos/photos.htm
.)

Lori Niles is the teaching director of Moreland Family
Preschool, an associate pastor, and a teacher at the seminary level
in Portland, Oregon.

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