The thermometer outside the window reads 10 below zero. If I were doing my daily work out there, as some people must, or if I were trying to survive without shelter out there as so many sufferers have done and some still do, I would likely not notice the beauty of the scene.
But at the moment, I stand on the warm side of the glass. My fragile, little mind is free to admire winter's splendid crystalline coat thrown over the world. I can marvel at the huge, white drifts sparkling gold from the rising sun.
How can something so stern and life-threatening be so grand to see? Solemn and dangerous are some of the wonders that bear witness of the masterful and kindly One who created them.
His universe is not willing, for the comfort of mortal man, to shrink from its raw and fixed laws. You don't want to fight against this universe, for it will not yield an inch from its realities. And yet it freely shares its perfect and polished art.
This prompts some thoughts about the Savior, and about Adam, Nephi and a small boy.
One spring day, a man stared up at a herd of white clouds migrating across the blue sky. His little boy asked, "How does Heavenly Father do it?"
"How does he make every cloud look exactly like something else?"
The man was puzzled. "Point at a cloud," he said, "and tell me what you mean."
The boy pointed at one. "It looks exactly like a pterodactyl."
"OK," the man said, catching on, "what else?"
With pity and patience, the boy sighed at his dad and brought other clouds to life. He pointed out one that was obviously created to look like a bear, another that looked like a castle, and so on.
The sky is full of replicas. The world is an art show to eyes that are open. Everything is a reminder of what we love.
Nephi said, "All things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him" (2 Nephi 11:4).
Perhaps this is not true of the synthetic part of the world, the manmade things. But the generous scenery God has set all around us is a careful curriculum. Its lessons go on and on, constant reminders of the sacred and important.
Of course, the reminders only work if we want to be reminded. We have to welcome the curriculum.
And, we will need a guide to point things out for us, as the boy did for his unseeing dad.
After Adam's baptism, he was given such a guide. "It is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; … that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things."
By means of that inborn companion, "all things have their likeness," for "all things are created and made to bear record of me" (Moses 6:61,63).
The curriculum can remind us of the One we have promised to always remember.
On a certain Passover occasion, that One was honored by vast crowds that filled the hills around Jerusalem. When jealous men urged Jesus to silence the worship arising from these people, he replied, "if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out" instead (Luke 19:40).
That being true, then certainly the ancient testaments — with their timeless stories and robust symbolisms — also cry out. In this year's Sunday School study, with receptive eyes and a patient Guide to point things out, we may find the whole curriculum bearing record of him.
Wayne E. Brickey, who lives in Gallatin, Mo., is a retired Church Educational System teacher and curriculum writer and has been a tour guide to Holy Land and Mormon history sites.