Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Experiencing a whiter-than-snow Christmas isn’t just something you have to dream about.
Snow is the purest, brightest, whitest substance that exists. Anything else you would call “white” could be held up next to clean snow, and you’d have to call it “off white.” But God’s word tells us that when a dirty, dark sinner comes under the blood of Christ, God washes him even whiter than snow.
That’s how complete God’s cleansing is. It makes us whiter than the whitest. Purer than the purest. Cleaner than the cleanest things we can imagine. And that’s what we who truly celebrate Christmas from the heart have experienced.
What’s more, this is not just a surface cleaning, not just a whitewashing of the outside that leaves the inside dirty. God’s cleansing of the repentant heart is a “purging with hyssop.” Purging is complete cleansing of our souls from the inside out. When we trust in Christ, God digs deep, cleansing us to the core.
The hyssop branch was used in Old Testament times to sprinkle the altar with blood, thus purifying it. And on the cross, Jesus drank from a sponge lifted to Him on a hyssop branch. The Purest of the pure consumed our sinfulness, so that He could give us pure living water to drink and be cleansed. He who knew no sin became sin for us and our sin was crucified with Him.
Now, we who knew no righteousness have become righteousness by drinking of the cup from which flows His precious blood, that washes away all of our sin. We who were so sinful that God in His holiness was unable to look upon us have now become purer than freshly-fallen snow, glistening in the unsurpassed light of Christ’s eyes that shine upon us. As we reflect His light, we are made so spiritually bright that the sinful eyes of the unregenerated world can hardly bear to look upon us without squinting.
When we first trusted in Christ alone to save us, our hearts were baptized clean by the living water of the Word of God and the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit. The sepulchers of our carnal bodies became temples of the Holy Spirit, and now we are forever inhabited by God Himself. We are no longer ashamed, for “all who look to Him are radiant.”
Brothers and sisters, rejoice in this greatest of all miracles this Christmas, and share it with others. (When someone you know celebrates that you are having a white Christmas this year where you live, or bemoaning the fact that you aren’t, use it as an opportunity to tell them why your heart is full this Christmas regardless of the weather.)
And as the new year begins, dwell and walk each day in this greatest of all joys: The joy of being so deeply purged and cleansed that even a God of unmatched holiness finds you flawless, and wants to use your life to bring others to Him also.