When air-borne moisture meets a cold surface in the midst of winter, hoarfrost is the result. Delicate, airy, magical, it wraps a winter world in wondrous white, daring all but the hardest of hearts to join the celebration.
But by this time of year, hoarfrost has lost its appeal. It is no longer - appropriate, somehow. Onlookers will it to fall. Our winter-weary eyes, long-tired of snowy white, ache for green.
And we wait for the colossal strip-tease, where frosty negligees are removed.
The trouble is, when what is real and true is revealed, when that pretty outer layer is stripped away, all that we see is last year's death. Brown brittleness. Stalks and sticks and not a shred of green - until the sun touches the brown places, and encourages the world to grow once again.
What lurks beneath your hoarfrost?
You know what I mean. Your fake and frosty smile gives you away. Your energetic actions and determined bravado cover up a breaking heart and dying spirit. Your false front glitters and fools some into thinking that all is well.
You can't fool me.
That fog you've been living in has met your tears and produced hoarfrost - pretty at first, sure. Useful at deflecting what's really underneath. Your fancy mask is forged from good deeds, busyness, secret vices that deflect attention from the real issue.
I know, because I have been there...
I've been there. I've worked hard to act the part of the one who has it all together, the one whose life is a tidy little package, where no loose ends are allowed to poke through a gleaming facade. I've held on so tightly the the places that were unravelling that my teeth ached with the strain.
I've needed to take it all off.
And oh, the relief!
The relief of letting genuine tears fall. The relief of admitting to failure. The relief of letting a select and safe few into my little messy world, owning my mistakes along with my triumphs.
The relief of being real.
After a while, the pretty little things we coat ourselves with are simply not appropriate. They keep others from getting to our real self, the part of us that is beautiful and ugly and messy and messed up and trying so very hard to be something better.
As the masks fall, as the pieces of what we have held for so long drop to the ground, something amazing happens.
The Son is able to touch our dead and dying places - and make us green and vibrant once again....
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Psalm 51:6
The act of removing the mask will be painful. It will feel as though you have removed something beautiful - and necessary to living, until you see what God can do with a humble heart.
And the growth you will experience will put the former things to shame.
So take it all off, friend.
Let it fall.
Expose your truest self to the Son, whose power alone can make you green again.