Winter is one season that for me, is the most difficult season to navigate. The days are shorten, the temperature drops and life seems to stand still. Trees are stripped of their leaves, plants die back and the sunshine seems to continuously hide behind the clouds. Why must we have winter at all? That’s my question. Can’t we just celebrate Christmas and New Year’s and roll right into the joy and rebirthing of spring? We all know the answer to that, although we do not want to accept the answer, we must.
Winter is a time of renewal in a strange kind of way. We think of spring as renewal, but winter signals the end of a long productive year. It is a time of reflection, rejuvenation, restoration, and preparation for the next season to come. Christ in His awesomeness knew that all things need to rest and restore including us.
We recently took a trip to one of my families favorite places, Gatlinburg, TN. It’s a place of beautiful vast forrest land, array of animals and home to the Great Smoky Mountains. The high mountain peaks seem to touch the heavens along with deep valleys that seem too stretch to the depths of the earth. It is also home to the intriguing black bear! A few fun facts according to the Smoky Mountain National Park is that black bears before hibernation in the winter, can double their body weight. Oh my goodness! Thankfully we may only gain 10 pounds in the winter and that is always too much for me. The black bear gains this weight so that he can sleep all winter and not have to wake for food. As he hibernates, the earth is renewing.
In the winter, plants rest and live off of stored food as well. Trees become dormant to save their nutrients to produce new leaves in the spring. Winter can also be a time of renewing and restoration for us as well. In Genesis 8:22 ESV states, ” While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease.” We have the promise as long as the earth remains these seasons will continue. But how do we navigate all these different seasons in our lives? The ups and downs, sickness and health, good and bad, losses and gains and everything in between? One answer.. God.
I know that sounds so easy and truthfully it is, if we could fully trust Him. If you are like me, life kinda gets in the way of fully trusting. If not careful, we take our eyes off of the one who we can fully trust and only see the valley and circumstances that we are walking through. Proverbs 3:5-6 says ” Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
As 2021 comes to a close and we give way to celebrate a new year, I begin to reflect on what this year looked like for me and my family. Although there were many bumps in the road, mountains to climb, valleys to walk through, I know without a shadow of doubt that God was ever present. How? He tells us in Isaiah 54:10 that ” For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. In Psalm 5:12 ESV “For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.”
We all have seasons to weather, storms to walk through, valleys to cross but one thing is certain. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 Just as the seasons change and give way to new life, my prayer is that I can see new life in each day this coming year even in this winter season. May you also see new life, unspeakable joy, never-ending peace, blessings beyond measure and find restoration for your heart and soul.
Happy New Year! Many Blessings to you and yours!