Winter begins Dec. 21 according to my calendar. For most, the cold temperatures make it seem as if it has already arrived… but not officially.
Many do not want winter to come. They complain about the weather, heavy coats and boots, icy roads and shoveling snow. My friend refused to build a fire in her woodstove late into autumn, not willing to acknowledge the change in seasons, not willing to let summer go. Yet winter is here.
Sometimes people chase the sun. They move to a climate that is always warm, if not year-round at least during the winter. However, the season has a purpose.
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. [3:1]”
Christian author Richard Blackaby elaborated on this theme. He wrote:
“Spring is a time of beginnings, new life, possibilities and potential. It feels vibrant and energetic. It is when the farmer plants seeds. Summer is a time of growth, labor and maturation. It is when seeds planted in spring grow and mature. Autumn is a time of harvest, when seeds planted in spring and grown in summer, ripen and are harvested. Winter is the season of closure, withdrawal, rest. It is when fields lie fallow and people withdraw from the bitter climate and rest.”
Perhaps I too have missed winter’s purpose. Its slower pace provides opportunity to watch snow fall or tuck myself into a large armchair and read a book while the ingredients of a hearty stew simmers in a Crockpot. There is time for reflection, time to contemplate change and time to evaluate goals.
Blackaby wrote, “Life is not meant to be endured, but savored.” Often we grit our teeth and endure the inconveniences of winter rather than savor the experiences a slower lifestyle affords.
Deborah Treger, a columnist for Alive.com, wrote: “The winter season is the perfect time to explore within and take a closer look at our personal choices. From inside the warm cocoon of our homes we have an opportunity to appreciate the good things in our lives and to think about the future.”
She adds that quiet reflection can produce insight for positive change. Also, there is time to truly consider our blessings. She advises a long, quiet walk outdoors on a sunny day or as snow is falling as a time to count blessings. Winter brings appreciation for a warm coat, wood for the fire and the walls of a house that protect from harsh weather. Friends and family members can be counted as blessings.
Because the sun sets early and evenings seem longer there is more opportunity to have conversation around the dinner table or over dessert and coffee by the fire.
As winter sets in lets appreciate the season and consider how we may savor the experience. Let us take the advice of Jonathan Swift, the author of the novel “Gulliver’s Travels,” who said: “May you live all the days of your life.”