29 January 2013

Things Denise Has Been Pondering: "The Wintry Day, Descending to Its Close"

In 2007 I was in my second year of college at Brigham Young University - Idaho. I was an English major and was enrolled in an Advanced Writing course which I ended up despising for various reasons (none of which will be discussed in this post). The one thing I really enjoyed about that class was that our professor had us sing a hymn before every lecture.
One day he asked us to sing hymn #37 "The Wintry Day, Descending to Its Close" and not one person in the class had ever heard or sung it before. NOTE: In all honesty, it's kind of a weird hymn. The other verses have nothing to do with the first verse so, there you go. We only sang the first verse and, in my opinion, it is one of the most poignant verses in the whole hymnbook:

The wintry day, descending to its close,
Invites all wearied nature to repose,
And shade of night are falling dense and fast,
Like sable curtains closing o'er the past.

Pale through the gloom the newly fallen snow
Wraps in a shroud the silent earth below
As tho t'were mercy's hand had spread the pall,
A symbol of forgiveness unto all.

As I have contemplated the atonement and how it changes lives, I have been drawn to the imagery of snow as a metaphor for forgiveness. In Isaiah 1:18 this same metaphor is taught by the Lord: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be like crimson, they shall be as wool."
I'm not a fan of snow and on a day like today when the snow has not stopped falling, I am grateful for this imagery and a peaceful, beautiful reminder that Jesus, my savior, suffered and died for me. I am reminded that my sins can be forgiven, and that like Utah valley is beautifully blanketed in pure white snow, my soul can be purified through forgiveness and the power of the atonement.

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