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: “Come, now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18, NIV
Tracks In the Snow
    Deer are plentiful enough, and of sufficient size, that their presence is often noted in the woods and fields that surround our house. We see marks of their hooves in the soft soil, and know that they come to drink at the pond. They also leave a compressed area in the grass in the pastures, where they bed down over night.
    Those masked bandits, the raccoons, are often seen, but more frequently make their presence known by leaving footprints in the mud at the edges of ponds and streams. Rabbits and squirrels frequent the yard, often to the detriment of my attempts at growing things we both relish.
    Birds of all sizes are also easily spotted, especially the numerous visitors to our bird feeders, the geese and blue heron that make the pond a port of call, and, of course, the hovering buzzards that look down from on high.
    We know there must be many other birds and animals out there that we do not normally see. Some are evidenced by things the cats drag in. Others are heard, but not seen, like the call of the  cock pheasant, or the howl of the coyote that puts our livestock guard dog on high alert. Sometimes the soaring notes of a hidden songster pulls at our heart strings, alluring, yet unseen.
    What  a  different  world  we discover on those calm, cold wintery days when we step out into a world painted on a canvas of white! The rabbits and squirrels now mark their every step with their signature footprint. I can tell where the spooked rabbit shifts into high gear. The night-traveling dog, and even the deer, are easily noted. Birds do come to earth; we read their touch-downs and hop-abouts like a message written on a page of snow. But the little creatures, things that hide in the woodlot leaves and tufts of grass in the fields, leave tracks and trails in abundance. What we have speculated about, because the dog’s marvelous nose had indicated there must be something there, now makes evident that they do indeed exist. What has long been hidden is now plainly seen.
    Sometimes I wish there were a way that I could make people’s thoughts and deeds so visible. I think of the day in the courtroom, when we, the jury, struggled to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused, knowing some who testified were not telling the truth. My, how the face of politics would be changed if motives could be seen, and discrepancies made evident for all.
     Then, the sobering thought strikes deep. How would my own life change, if thoughts and deeds were put on such open display. Rare among us, I’m sure,  would  be the  individual  who would  fear  not for full disclosure of every moment of our lives. Something to strive for, of course, but difficult for the humanity that lies within us.
    Yet, because I  believe in the future judgment, and the accountability that comes with it, it behooves me to acknowledge my shortcomings, and call on the grace and mercies of God for the cleansing that will make this trammeled and much tracked earthly journey as clean as the new-fallen snow on the woodlot and field. The LORD has promised as much: “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” 
Therein lies our only hope for the mortal to become immortal, and for the perishable to become eternal.

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