Some people think I’m crazy because I like winter.  There’s something magical about snow, especially the first snowfall.  It falls like a blanket over the city, muting the noise and casting an ethereal beauty.  If it’s nighttime it’s even better because the silence is deafening and the black night and white snow contrast each other perfectly.

Each snowflake is it’s own delicate design.  Some are fine and lacy while others are chunky and icy.  They come in an array of sizes.  Some fall gracefully to the ground while others are flung from the sky, too numerous to count.

It amazes me that of the millions that descend to earth, no two are alike.  They are all unique.  Maybe that’s what makes snow so special to me.  It opens my eyes to how vast the imagination of God must be.  To never run out of designs or ideas.  To never have to repeat.

Just like the snowflakes, no two humans are exactly alike.  We may have similar qualities, features or temperaments, but none are exactly the same.  I don’t have to look too far to see that.  I have two children who could not be more different.  If one says yes, the other says no.  Sometimes I think they try to be as opposite as they can be on purpose!

Just like snowflakes and children, each family is special and unique.  Some families have parents who are in the military.  Some have parents who are pastors, doctors, factory workers, or artists.  Some families have lots of children.  Some families have only one.  Some families have children with special needs.  Some have parents who have special needs.  Some families have experienced sickness and loss.  Some families do things differently than us.

There are so many variations!

It would be a very dull place to live, if everyone was the same, wouldn’t it?  Our families reflect their creator and He is not boring!  I believe God planned each family a particular way.  It is our individuality that makes us perfect to be used by Him in our own circles of influence to further His kingdom.

It is the unusual that catches our attention, isn’t it?  I know in my own life there have been people who were so rare or in such a foreign situation to my own life, that I was tempted shamefully, to dismiss them.  In the end, it was those very differences that taught me some of life’s greatest lessons.  I learned from one family the value of life as they treated their child with special needs with dignity and love, like I have never witnessed before.  I learned from another family that choosing to do what we believe in rather than what others tell us, is a good way to live even if it is hard.  God uses what we think is insignificant or weak to teach us some of the greatest of life’s lessons.

He uses each of our families to point others to Himself, too.  Sometimes it’s our family that is considered unusual.  God doesn’t want us to be like everyone else.  As Jesus followers we are supposed to be salt and light in the world.  That usually means we are going to stand out.  He uses our saltiness and light to point others to act similarly or to give them courage to stay the course.  Say no.  Say yes.

I like how the Message translates Matthew 5:14-16:

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. …If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!”

If we follow Jesus’ example of love and grace, it makes our families shine in a world that can be very dark.  Our actions and words can stand out in a world of anger and hate.  Just like the snowflakes that fall to the ground spreading beauty, our families can spread the beauty of the love of God.