No, there is no mistake in the title of this column. I slightly modified the 1954 movie musical “There’s No Business Like Show Business”. During this Christmas season when many (especially the kids) have the song “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” on their minds, I thought I would take this column to prepare for Christmas and in doing so also talk about Christmas, snow, and the above Irving Berlin musical, staring: Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Donald O’Connor and others.
Snow is a wonderful gift from God! It is a resource that all of us use. Throughout Utah, the average annual snowfall varies drastically from just several inches to 91.5” in Sandy (where we lived for two years), near the base of the mountains, 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, to 411” in the ski resort of Park City. Snow was often discussed because the towns needed sufficient snowfall in the mountains to melt during the months to provide water.
Snow can be a bit scary too. The first time I can remember thinking about death I was four years old and living in Shiloh, Pennsylvania, near York. We lived in farm country with a gravel driveway roughly a hundred yards long. We had a large snowstorm and Dad wasn’t due home until late at night. Mother went to the top of the driveway and rolled huge snowballs and pushed them off to the side so Dad could come down the driveway. She ended up with a bad back, lying on a board in her bed moaning and groaning waiting for the doctor to make a house call. I was sure one of those moans or groans would be her last.
There is beauty in snow also. I remember sitting on the front porch of that same stone house, built in 1792, and looking out into the distance to the barn, which had a spotlight at the apex of the roof that highlighted the snowflakes dancing their way to the ground. To this day, I enjoy watching snow fall.
Snow encourages friendship. When we lived in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, our oldest son, Greg, was in a private middle school about ten miles from home. The accumulation of snow was so great that my office closed early in Philadelphia. Since I took public transportation at the time, I was happy to get home safely.
As I entered our home, Barb informed me that our son had missed the school bus and I would have to pick him up. Not wanting to venture out because I didn’t like to drive in snow/ice, I called the head of the school and since he had a home on the school property, I asked him if he would like to get to know one of his students better. Thus Greg stayed overnight at his house. He had a ball because there were some older kids that lived at the house and they spent much time pushing cars that got caught in the snow, making the drivers of the cars extremely thankful.
During another snowstorm, Barb and I hosted a spare of the moment pot-luck dinner at our house by calling many of the neighbors on our block and having them bring what was on their menu for dinner that night to share with all of us.
There were two other very memorable snows that I will always remember. Both Barb and I worked in Philadelphia. I drove to work that day because the offices were going to close early since it was Christmas Eve. When we left town, it was snowing at a moderate rate. We stopped on the way home at one of my former supervisors to wish him and his wife a Merry Christmas. Then we continued home and I dropped Barb off at her parent’s house (about five blocks from mine). The plan was for me to go back to her house at the specified time and we would drive to her church for the Christmas Eve service. By the time I left to pick Barb up, all the members of my family had left to go to their church. As I backed out of the driveway, I got so stuck in the snow that I had to leave the car there. I was determined to walk to her house because I had her engagement ring in my pocket. I walked through the blizzard conditions wearing one overcoat and holding another overcoat over my head. That wonderful memory of the snowstorm happened 50 years ago this Christmas Eve.
The second snowstorm was not so bad, but it certainly created a memorable moment. After a few years of marriage because I had to complete college and a tour in the Service, we had our first son. When he was about three and a half, we told him he was going to have a sibling and he and I built a pregnant snow lady on
our front lawn to celebrate the upcoming occasion.
As you can tell, there’s no business like snow business. But, you ask: “How does that relate to: There’s No Business Like Show Business”? I’m glad you asked. The third verse of the musical goes like this: “The costumes, the scenery, the make-up the props – The audience that lifts you when you are down – The headaches, the heartbreaks, the backaches, the flop – The sheriff that escorts you out of town – The opening that beats like a drum – The closing when the customers don’t come.”
Snow business is like show business in several ways. Each has something exciting and something challenging, something to build your spirit and something to discourage you, something beautiful and something horrendous and then there are the successes and the flops.
However, the above is just a passing experience or group of experiences in my life. What really matters at Christmastime is whether each one of us soaks in the real meaning of Christmas. What a present sent by God, His Son, Jesus Christ, to live among us sinners as a perfect human being, to die for all sinners who profess a faith in Jesus Christ, his blood shed upon the cross at Calvary that covers our sins once and for all and to die and on the third day to rise to be with His Father in heaven. I accepted Christ like this at Christmastime in 1980. How about you? If not, I plead with you to read the Gospel of John in the Bible.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool (Isaiah 1:18b).
“Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain – He washed it white as snow.” (Chorus to “Jesus Paid It All” by Elvina M. Hall/John T. Grape).