The Sunday Sermonette – The First Frost.

     Imagine my delight earlier this week when I peered from under my snuggly-warm, eiderdown quilt and saw Fall’s first frost sparkling atop my neighbor’s roof just as the sun christened the dawn in a lavender-tangerine wash. The frost was thick, forming a blanket of white. It covered car hoods and children’s bikes with feathery patterns, painting them all with translucent artistry.

     Frost is fascinating to see, but also lends itself to stories told around firesides on dark winter nights. Take Jack Frost, for instance. He’s an elfish creature, full of mischief, and a hero, too. Legend has it that he creates those frosty works of art around our windows, especially if you live where it’s icy in the winter. He’s often depicted holding a brush, painting those fern-like patterns of frost found on windows on cold mornings. Now, when you hear “The Christmas Song,” you can think of Jack Frost, spreading frosty cheer to people worldwide.

     However beautiful and beguiling it is, frost has a dark side. It can be immensely destructive to tender plants. It can kill, too. Peering out the window and admiring the frost, I suddenly remembered my Hibiscus and Impatiens plants. They survived, only slightly tinged by the frost. Later that morning, while drinking my coffee and sitting in Mom’s old rocker, I watch the sun slowly melt the shimmering frost. It then dawned on me that people in our lives can be like frost—glistening but deadly.

     Perhaps it’s a toxic relationship—all love and smiles until reality sets in, and you discover how lethal it is. Maybe it’s a boss who, at first, is supportive and fair but turns on you when he/she no longer needs you. Possibly, it’s a preacher or priest who says or does something that turns you against organized religion. Or some group— a local theater, a Mardi Gras crew, the Rotary Club—sets your teeth on edge. Perhaps? Maybe? Possibly? Or? You fill in the blanks. Never forget that frost is beautiful, but it can kill.

     The Good Book warns us about the frosty people in our lives. Warns us about their loving but deceitful eyes. Their lying tongues. Their hearts that devise wickedness. Their feet that run to evil. Those who sow discord among family and friends alike. Those full of envy, strife, deceit, and maliciousness. And those hose who gossip. We are told to stay clear of these people.

     Instead, we are told to surround ourselves with people who are not like that—people who genuinely love and care for us and represent the beautiful side of frost, not the side that can wither and destroy. In prayer, we can ask God and Jesus to lead us to those who possess those qualities. Then, we’ll be surrounded by family and friends who build us up, love us warts and all, and will be there for us when the dark side of frost enters our hearts, trying to drag us away from those who sincerely have our best interests at heart.

     The next time there’s frost on the rooftops, remember its beauty, but never forget its dark side. And if you feel that frosty, dark side creeping into your heart, please look for the “Son-shine” that will melt it away.

     Ponder this and go forth.