I’m convinced that one of the Government’s tests of ‘Britishness’ for those applying for the citizenship should be an ability to discuss the weather at some length even with a stranger! Our obsession with rain, hose pipe bans and droughts (oh the summer of ’76) is quintessentially British. So when snow began falling in the early hours of Monday morning and continued for the following 24 hours, it caused no end of excitement. No work today, everything has ground to a halt and the weather is all over the news – result! Normally we in Hastings don’t get that kind of snow. The clouds hurry by to dump it all on Kent and beyond. We get the merest talcum powder sprinkle that quite frankly is an embarrassment, especially when you see what happens in places like Northumberland. Never have the prayers of my children been more fervent than when the rumour of snow is abroad. The Holy Grail is a day off school, particularly if it coincides with a much hated lesson. But as mentioned in these articles before, nature is a capricious mistress and when we were least expecting it (the crocuses were out, it was so warm last Tuesday I forwent five layers for two) a blizzard of snow arrived.
Of course it always looks gorgeous on Christmas cards but the reality can be far more serious. My daughter rang me at 11.30pm that night and you just know it won’t be good news at that hour. Sure enough, my son-in-law was on his way back from Tunbridge Wells having had to stay late at work. He’d found himself in stationary traffic and in a moment of queue-induced madness had turned off the main road on to a side one. Having informed her on his mobile he’d suddenly rung off. Something had happened – he’d call her back. Still waiting, she’d rung me to pray for him, which we did and for all the others who found themselves stranded on roads or motorways.
I also thought of those who would be living rough on the streets that night. From December till early March, St. Matthews, along with other churches in the area, had been part of Operation Snowflake. A Christian initiative manned by volunteers, its aim was to provide shelter and food throughout the winter period for the homeless. Sadly its success is in the very fact that so many needed to use it. The scheme has completed for the meantime. Who knew where our guests had found shelter from the storm that night.
My son-in-law is alright by the way. The side road was an ice rink so he turned around and got safely back onto the main road. If only all our prayers were answered so fast and so brilliantly! For Operation Snowflake and many other social projects it will take time to get it just right. And our prayers will be part of God’s answer
Love in Jesus,