A couple of weeks ago the country heard alarming news: ‘The snow is on its way!’ Apocalyptic visions, whipped up by the mainstream media triggered a great panic, despite the fact that snow in January should by no means be considered an anomaly. While many of us initiated last minute preparations, anticipating the worst, on hearing the news many children’s eyes opened wider in the hope that they might get a chance to build a snowman.
I always find it curious that every couple of years parts of the country come to a standstill as a result of winter frost and snow, which considering its low, but regular incidence rate should not be a great surprise in winter months. Once again this month I watched with fascination as the panic levels escalated, only to switch back to ‘business as usual’ mode a few hours later, when the snow became a distant memory. Will the snow forecast come as a surprise to us again next time? I am convinced that to some it will. Others will have learnt the lesson and might invest in a shovel, warmer boots and new car tyres.
As I was pondering on the above I realised that while disruption, change of plans or facing a longer wait are rarely welcome in our lives, they can also create opportunities or teach us a valuable lesson.
The other day I was in a meeting where one of my invitees raised the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), which prompts Christians to always be ready for the Second Coming.
Ten young ladies got chosen to participate in a wedding. Their role was to accompany the bridegroom’s procession, part of traditional Jewish wedding celebrations. All were told to be ready and wait their turn. Five of them came well-prepared with an extra supply of lamp oil, which came in handy when the bridegroom was still nowhere to be seen after the sunset. The other five quickly run out of oil and had to abandon their posts to get more of it. While they were away, the bridegroom arrived. Only the virgins who came prepared accompanied him to the celebrations.
As we begin a new year it is worth asking ourselves whether there is enough oil in our lamps and if we are prepared for the next heavy snow in our lives.
By Adam Klups, Assistant Churches Officer.