Joy as protest

the longest night

Praying for snow is fun. And it’s my insistence on joy, even in the darkest season.

Everyone knows I pray for snow.

My snow prayers begin on September 1, and amplify each month towards full power in December. The last day of February they cease. I live in the South so this is a true test of my faith.


I firmly believe the one thing we should take literally in the Bible is Jesus saying, ‘Whatever you ask in my name, I will give you.’ He says it in each of the Gospels, multiple times. I think he means it.

The thing is, we’re not in relationship with God alone. We’re in relationship with God and about 8 billion other people. So there’s bound to be ways that what I’m asking for in Jesus’ name conflicts with what lots of other people are asking for.

Which keeps God from doing my will, I think!

We live in a world where all of our hearts’ desires are poured out to Jesus simultaneously. And I believe he’s giving them to us. And it looks like exactly what we get: a world of astonishing beauty and unthinkable tragedy. All our desires crashing together and refracting into life – full of good desires and selfish ones, full of sin and selflessness, all jumbled up and touching each others’ lives in complicated and unintentional ways.

At least that’s how I understand my slim chances of getting a white Christmas.

I’m always surprised – though I shouldn’t be – how many people assume I love winter, given my snow prayers. I don’t though. I dread the cold, and especially the dark. I’m one of those people who really starts withering when the light disappears. I know it happens every year, but in the midst of the darkest days, I forget. I worry that I’ve lost the light altogether. The world spools out tragedy and death and anxiety at a pace that seems faster in the winter. It can feel like too much to take.

The snow prayers are my link to joy. They’re my insistence on it.

When it all feels like too much, there’s a temptation to give in, to believe that darkness is more powerful than light. To let myself believe it’s all bad news, we’ll never overcome the world’s troubles or our personal turmoil.

My snow prayers remind me that I’m calling on joy, even when I don’t feel like it. That I’m holding up my candle despite the pain, holding my vigil against pain, and loneliness, and sorrow, and loss of hope. No matter what it looks like out there.

It’s my joy protest – darkness will not win. It cannot.


Every time it snows – anywhere – I get texts, calls, and messages. ‘Your snow prayers worked!’ they say. ‘Here’s your snow, Cathie!’ And, inevitably, ‘STOP praying for snow, Cathie!’

I love all of these messages. It is beyond touching to me that so many people see snow and think of me. It’s also confirmation that people know I pray. That I trust in God’s presence and God’s guidance in my life. In the world.

Because whether it snows or not, when people reach out to me, Jesus giving me exactly what I asked for: Light. Love. A moment of connection. The assurance that I’m not alone. that the darkness will not overcome.

The weary world rejoices.

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