By: Jonathan David Helser
Taken from: Eighteen Inch Journey Book
One Christmas, Melissa and I decided to surprise our son, Cadence, with a ukulele. A couple of days before that Christmas, we had planned to stay up late on a Friday night after the kids had fallen asleep to bake cookies and wrap their gifts. As the house was filling with the aroma of Melissa’s baking, I was walking around the kitchen trying to play Christmas songs on Cadence’s new ukulele. I was doing my best trying to sing the old duet “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and Melissa was singing back to me as she put cookies in the oven. The last thing I was expecting to happen that night was to write a new song, especially on the instrument I was supposed to be wrapping, but suddenly in a very ordinary moment of life, something extraordinary started to fall upon us.
While stumbling through the chords of the old song, I began to feel the melody of a new song descending. I started singing lyrics around the theme of Winter singing her song to me through the silence of the snowflakes. I don’t know if it was the flour on Melissa’s apron or the anointing from the cookies she was baking, but she started singing a response to my lyrics as if she had become Winter herself singing back to me. Melissa caught eyes with me, and we both knew what was happening: a new song was being born.
As songwriters you wait for moments of inspiration to come, but you can never make them happen. You long for these moments like children in Winter with their sleds in hand, waiting on the clouds to provide them the substance that turns their normal world into something magical. Melissa and I spent the rest of that evening riding that moment of inspiration and writing our first song about Winter.
When we woke up that next overcast and sleepy Saturday morning, there were no presents wrapped, but we had a new song that was almost finished. After breakfast the kids settled down to watch a Christmas movie, and Melissa and I slipped into our bedroom to try and finish writing the song without Cadence hearing us playing his ukulele. As we were finishing the last verse, we were interrupted by the joyful squeals of my two children playing outside. We looked out our window and were astonished to see them playing in a surprise snowstorm. None of the weather reports had mentioned the slightest chance of snow. It rarely snows where we live, so anytime it falls our whole world stands still for as long as it’s on the ground. We could hardly believe that the snow started falling as we finished the last verse of the song. Our normal Saturday morning had been overtaken by the beauty and majesty of winter.
Hear the snowflakes falling
Winter’s calling my name
The silent song she’s singing
What’s she trying to say?
Can I fall like glory to wash your year away?
All that remains was really meant to stay
Come and clothe me Winter, I really need a change
With silent redemption, Cover me with grace
Hear the song of beauty, Melodies and sounds
Cover you in white love
The joy you lost but now have found
Sing, sing Winter. Sing me your silent song
Redemption came like the silent snow that falls while we sleep— the kind where you wake up and the entire landscape has changed. The dark and barren colors of the cold world, are transformed to bright white glory that almost blinds you when you look out the window to see a brand new world. The snowflakes echo the silent redemption plan of a King who came as a baby and became the Savior, who stood silent as a lamb before the shearer. His silent sacrifice covered the whole earth in redemption that turned crimson stains as white as snow.