12 Jan Lessons of Wintering
Apparently, some people love cold weather. I am not one of them, so I cannot offer this report based on personal experience; only on what has been told to me by the polar-embracing folks I know. I do think snow is beautiful—when I’m watching it fall from in front of my fireplace, warmed by a cup of cider, snuggled under a blanket, and definitely, definitely with the electricity still on and nothing that requires me to leave the house.
So, you can imagine how delighted I am to emerge from the arctic temperatures of the past several days into the balmy 40’s. Sun! Exercising outdoors! Walking to my car without fear of breaking a bone! Ah, yes, it is the simple things, sometimes.
While I prefer the new life and lengthening days of spring and the rich colors of turning leaves in the fall, I am reminded that in life—and in faith—winter does have its place and an important role to play in our growth and maturity. For many plants and trees, winter is a season of dormancy, but the fact that branches are bare of leaves or blooms does not mean that nothing is happening. Below the surface, roots are “resting” from the previous months of blooming, conserving energy that will be needed when the next cycle of growth commences.
Perhaps winter is not a bad metaphor for what the church has endured over the past twenty-two months. While certainly lasting far longer than any of us had imagined or hoped, in many ways Covid has provided us an extended season of rest, with fewer meetings, fewer events, less time in the car, and fewer demands upon our schedule, time, and attention. While the isolation that has accompanied these changes has not been good, many people have embraced the extra time to start a new hobby, exercise more, cook more meals at home, reconnect with distant family or friends, or open a new business. Alongside the disruptions, uncertainties, and anxieties, folks have seized the opportunity to nurture deeper and healthier roots in nearly every area of life—family, work, finances, relationships, and physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health.
I am encouraged by the reports I am hearing that the Omicron variant may exit our lives as quickly as it arrived. But that is out of our control, one way or another. What we can control is a choice to embrace this “winter” and to squeeze from it every last drop of good that we can. To that end, I am choosing to focus on the myriad ways God is working in us. I am choosing to rejoice at the ways we are continuing to be God’s church. I am continuing to give thanks for the strength of this community, whether physically together or apart.
We will get through this, just as surely as winter eventually gives way to Spring. In the meantime, let us continue to hold one another up in prayer, to reach out by phone, email, or text, and to allow our spiritual roots to deepen during this season.
Yours for the Kingdom,
We thought this song by Judy was a perfect fit for this week’s blog. Click to enjoy!