The following story is no fairy tale, but rather a true story of a happening which took place on the campus of the Austrian Bible Institute in February, 1991.  One of the students wrote this article and I translated it into English.

The Snowman

by Wolfgang Dvorak

It snowed in the night and the following day was Saturday, meaning there was no school. No school for the Bible Institute students and no school for the children of the married students.  It had been a long time since there was so much easy packing snow on the ground and when the children woke up and looked out the window, they shouted a loud “Hurrah!” The students too rejoiced at this wonderful sight and soon after breakfast, they were outside helping the children build a giant snowman.

The snowman would have to be very big and original! One child brought out a cap and jacket and another found a large pickle for a nose. Clumps of coal from the local coal mines were easy to find and these served as eyes and buttons. One of the students had a pair of skis and the children insisted on placing these under the snowman’s feet. “An Austrian snowman must have skis!“ they insisted.

Now we all know that snowmen don’t last forever, but with cooperation from the weather, this special creation could provide something to admire and talk about for several days. When people came to church the following morning, the snowman would make everyone happy and when the children went to school on Monday, many would admire the skiing snowman. And every time people would stop to look, the children who created it would smile smugly, feeling very flattered.  That is what the children were all thinking when they returned to their homes for supper on Saturday.

Sunday was another wonderful, cold day and the early morning sun glistened on the white snow. One after the other, children pulled their curtains aside and looked out their windows to get a glimpse of their snowman. But to their great dismay, it was gone! Nothing was left but a pile of snow. One of the skis was missing and the other was broken, one part on the ground and another piece protruded from a pile of snow that had been shoveled from the sidewalk. Tears were mingled with breakfast cereal that morning and when people went to church, no one noticed that a wonderful snowman should have been there to greet them.

The creators of the snowman studied the chaos that someone had made of their artwork. They could tell by the footprints, that other children were responsible for the terrible deed. Sadly, they turned and made their way to Sunday School. As they walked, their sadness turned to anger and then to thoughts of revenge. They vowed together, that if they should discover the identity of the scoundrels who destroyed their snowman, vengeance would be sweet.

In Sunday School, they learned of the Creator, who fashioned man after himself, even instilling in him a free will. The man was placed in a lovely garden and given a beautiful wife to keep him company. Together, they enjoyed both creation and Creator.  But satan came into the garden and persuaded them to disobey God. In their disobedience, not only the garden, but all creation and the harmonious relationship with their Creator was destroyed. God gave them opportunity to repent and to admit their disobedience, but they just blamed each other, the serpent and even God!

So it was, that God designed a remarkable plan for man’s salvation and the restoration of his creation. He sent His only Son to become a sacrifice for man’s sin. He called on men to repent and to forgive one another just as He forgives us. Still, there are men and women, boys and girls, who reject that offer. Instead of love, they despise and hate. Instead of working with the Creator to build His kingdom, they try to destroy whatever He and those serving Him build.

The Sunday School teacher asked the children if they understood the story. The children thought of the snowman and then of their anger and even hatred of the unknown perpetrators of that deed. Their anger soon gave way to sadness. They were at first sad because they had reacted wrongly. Then they became sad when they thought of the children who destroyed their snowman. The children thought, “They think that it is more fun to destroy what others build than to enjoy their creation or be involved in building”.

The teacher asked if any of the children would like to pray. One boy raised his hand. He prayed, asking God to forgive him for his evil thoughts of revenge. He also prayed that the children who had destroyed the snowman would come to know and love Jesus. And finally, he asked God to forgive those children.

When the children returned to their homes for dinner, they again walked past the chaos that was once a snowman. They resolved to make another one after the meal; bigger and better than ever! And they would write in the snow next to it, “God forgives and so do we!”