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Let’s Hear It for Winter! 

February 10, 2017

Southern loved ones who see “summer year round” subtly speak “advantage,” through words of pity for us Northerners frozen beneath white months. But I have grown to treasure winter. When friends in February flip-flops shake their heads, lamenting our blizzards and forced fireside days, I always think “they really don’t seem to get winter,” and how awesome it actually is.

Winter is as inevitable as death, and when everything I see is fallow (as I will soon be), I can see the whole forest, and know that death will give way to life again in a way that would be unbelievable to someone who had never been through winter. Why are the colder climates most often host to the more productive cultures in human history? How does the never ceasing cycle of sun and fun mitigate against rigorous thought and spiritual formation? Today the fire is warm—the room is quiet—the meditation is deep. Hearing the howling wind against the window . . . while knowing it will soon fail in the face of the more powerful force of life, knowing as a fact that melting and moisture and green and growth are coming to the planet as sure as the sun is moving closer to earth, helps me have faith as I pray tearfully about things where new life seems impossible.

Waiting for spring to burst forth from buds and bulbs is a truly wonderful experience… a constant thought by the time March comes roaring in. No, I can’t golf or cook out today, but won’t those blessings be treasured more upon their arrival because of required waiting? Today I feel the pinch of what Shakespeare called “the seasons difference, as the icy fang and churlish chiding of the winter’s wind, which bites and blows upon my body until I shrink with cold and smiling say, ‘sweet are the uses of adversity.’” (From memory, errors likely.?) Or, more commonly expressed, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Cycles of having and hoping are central to life in Christ—and winter is good practice.

I hope to have a few days of southern sunshine later in February—a welcome deposit on a season to come, but I truly do love winter. I love knowing that life is gonna win again and getting to watch as spring awakes from slumber, a summer of celebration speeds past and, too soon, falling leaves signal slowing pace and everything freezes again.

Cycles of having and hoping are central to life in Christ—and winter is good practice. Northerners are known for being direct and to the point. Heck yeah, it’s cold out so I won’t prattle on ’til we both have frostbite . . . North is not better than south of course, but it does have advantages—and I have come to see, maybe by necessity, that winter is one of those wins.

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