Genuine joy comes from God

Curtis Shelburne

It’s snowing outside. That suits me fine. I love snow. (It’s also blowing a gale, and that’s not so lovely, but …)

I might be tempted to claim that I brought the snow home with me from an “instead of Christmas gifts” ski trip our family took to the mountains last weekend, but I doubt anyone would believe me. Besides that, the folks up there are stingy with their snow, and a good bit of what my family and I were skiing on is snow the folks up on the mountain made themselves.

It’s amazing how much impressive equipment it takes to blow enough water (and lots of it) through cold air to make tons of the white stuff. Not that long ago, only the Lord could make snow. We shouldn’t get too uppity about it. He’s still the only One who can make the right ingredients and most important conditions even for the stuff we make.

Still, snow-making has come a long way, and those big snow guns are impressive. They look like big cement mixing buckets on wheels. Shoot mega-gallons of water into a bunch of highly-compressed fast-moving air, and do it in the right proportions at around 27 degrees or below, and you’ve got snow, and lots of it.

I want one of those things for the house. Of course, I don’t need one that big, but I’ve seen some smaller homemade ones on the Internet that look intriguing. (My wife gets an “Oh, no, what next?” sort of look on her face when she sees me looking at such videos.) We don’t get nearly as much genuine God-given snow as I’d like, and I think it would be really cool (in every sense) to call up the grandkids and say, “Come on over! I’ve got a couple of inches of PawPaw-produced snow already made for you, and I’m making more!”

We had a wonderful time in the mountains, and though God makes beauty in a jillion forms, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful than sights you see when skiing down a snow-covered mountain. I know I’ve never done anything that was much more fun. Best of all is sharing it with the people you love and enjoy the most. Beauty is even better when shared. Skiing together. Riding up the lift together. Talking together and seeing deer foraging under the trees. Waking up each morning with granddaughters hollering out the cabin window, “Hi, duckies!” and watching the ducks on the cold pond respond by paddling over as they know those little girls and an old guy will soon be tossing bread to them. Well, what is better than that?

I can’t bring the mountains or the pond or the ducks home, but I wonder if I could figure out how to make a little snow . . .

You can’t make joy. Lots of people try, with pathetic results. When genuine joy “catches” us, it’s always by surprise, which is one of its best features. God made it that way, and He is so very, very good at it.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at