This morning, I woke up hearing the rain outside my window, and I knew this meant. Fall was among us, and winter is on it’s way. With the rain comes the cold. As I grabbed my baby blue north face raincoat and my polka dot rain boots, I opened the weather app to see a low of 34 and a high of 63, and I knew that the cold was coming. It seems that this fall was brief and momentary, and I’ll have to transition into the coldness of winter sooner than expected. At a first thought, this made me sad.
With winter often comes some sort of dreariness, and while yes, it is laced with the temporary comforts of Michael Buble’s voice singing Christmas songs and hot chocolate, it comes with a sense of dreariness in the consistent day to day walks in the cold. Before the joy of Christmas comes, we sit in the coldness of Advent, of waiting. This time of stillness and starkness of the winter has always confused me, and I think this is because my visual of the winter was a sedentary image. In the past, my only reasoning for winter has been summed up in the words like these:
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” – Anne Bradstreet
But as I was praying this morning, I thought. There has got to be more. Lord, winter is so much more than an inserted time of a misery so that I can experience joy in the spring. Then it hit me. To sum up winter as a time of dreariness in not enough, because winter is so much more than this. While it comes with stillness, winter is not a time of stagnancy, but of clarity. The winter forces us to be still, and the overcast of the sky cause the ability to see clearly into the distance.
Winter also evokes a sense of authenticity in each of us, in which while yes, it is hard to sit in the season, it cold clearness of the air breathes revelation, that the sunlight of the springtime and summer allows us skip over. Sometimes, the cold cold clarity burns really badly because it is truth that was difficult to notice in the carefree days of springtime and summer.
As I was praying for a friend who is in this time of winter, I saw this image
“You were walking in the snow, just white snow, and immediately realized you were in the cold of winter, and we often feel that things are dead that they are dry and still and stagnant in the cold of winter, but in the winter, the air is crisp and clear, and you can see so far into the distance because though the winter feels so dry and dead unlike springtime, it brings clarity. We are so quick to resent the season that has so much for our benefit. Then, I saw a breeze blow and it got really cold and hurt your face because it was so cold, but though the refining was burning, you started to realize that things were picking up- dead brown leaves that were on the floor were picking up from the wind, and the spirit of God, his wind will sweep you up in this time what seems like barrenness. The almighty Spirit of God would breathe new life into this season of your life and sweep you up and take you to new places. This time of what seems like stand still with the Lord will breathe clarity before he takes you to your next destination.”
I think this image applies to all of us. While winter seems stagnant, it is full of the wind, like the spirit of God that we cannot see that is sweeping up dead things off the ground and preparing us for the spring that awaits us.