Speaking of the weather

It is the time of year that we in the northern climes talk about the weather.

“How much snow did you get west of town?”

“Six inches.”

“Hmm, only got two in town and none at that church.”

“Really, they got nine inches up on the Limestone.  Probably won’t melt under those trees until May.

“Yep.”

             Not exactly the deepest (pun absolutely intended) conversations, but I will admit that I really like talking about winter weather.  A simple comment about an upcoming snowstorm will get people remembering notable storms of the past.  Just recently Pastor Kent told me about the Concordia College Choir being snowed in at a chain motel for several days during a blizzard while on tour.  No power, no heat, no food.  Just as they were debating cannibalism, the ingenious tenor section upended a vending machine to shake the candy out.  Great story.

Or a cold snap will bring out the memories of old cars with heaters that blew only cool air or of throwing a pan of boiling water outside and watching it all evaporate before it hit the ground.  Mention the thermometer, snow-packed roads, or the value of Carhart overalls and the conversation will go on for hours – at least in the rural, male, Lutheran circles that I often travel in.

I think if God would’ve chosen for the messiah to be born a little farther north that Jesus would’ve told parables about lake ice and wind chill to go along with the sowing, harvesting, and fishing themes that he used so often.   Jesus painted lofty theological images with his words, but he also spent plenty of time discussing wind, water, and rain – the weather.

Jesus knew what people really talked about — the beauty of mild weather, the fear and anxiety that damage from violent storms can bring, the ability to raise a crop from the right weather at the right time.  Snow and rain gives us a way to talk about things we like and things that make us a little worried.  Weather conversation helps us sort out memories and pass on stories that help us to be better friends and to pass on history.  We have parables around us all of the time.

No wonder we will soon be hearing the story of a cross-country winter trip on the back of a donkey.  The traffic was terrible, and there was no room at the hotel.  And you know what happened?  God showed up.  Now, that’s a good weather story.

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