December 1, 2014 - Whiter than Snow

December 1, 2014 - Whiter than Snow
Joe Foltz

Isaiah 1:10-20

One of the traditions of my family during this time of year is to watch the movie White Christmas. (Isn’t it interesting that we seem to always end up watching Christmas movies during Advent, and we’re tired of them by the time Christmastide comes?) In the movie, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye), an entertainment duo, end up at the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont, which just happens to be run by their former beloved commanding officer from World War II, Major General Thomas F. Waverly (Dean Jagger).

General Waverly’s inn is in trouble because it just isn’t snowing in Vermont this particular winter, so Wallace and Davis decide to end their show’s Christmas hiatus and bring the whole cast and crew up to Pine Tree to help their old friend. The whole time we’re left wondering if it will be a white Christmas or not. Will snow ever come?

In our passage for today, the Lord speaks through Isaiah that a big production like the one that Wallace and Davis could provide isn’t what God desires. God actually describes them as a burden that he is weary of bearing.

What is it that the Lord desires? “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16-17).

Helping those who cannot help themselves--that’s what God desires from us. There’s many ways we can do that during this Advent season. You could sponsor a child. You could buy a goat or other farm animal to help provide for a family in another part of the world. You could buy a box of diapers for the single mom with the newborn down the street.

If you do, the result will be that “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).  As the old hymn says:

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

- James Nicholson

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