Now, anyone who knows me can affirm that I’m a summer girl. I relish the days of cool morning walks and warm afternoons. I love sliding into the day without essays and lesson plans, clutter and (sometimes) sassiness. I love planning trips, growing flowers, chatting with my children and grandkids, and hanging out with Jay. Summer is everything nice.
But, then there’s winter. I grew up in the northern Midwest, but somehow, I never acquired an appreciation for cold and snow—the drab and windswept days of winter. I thought myself clever when I’d stuff a pair of mittens and a hat in the top of my marching band Shako to pull out once in the stands to keep myself somewhat warm as we watched our high school football games.
I prefer winter to extend just through Christmas and then I’d be fine with warm sunny skies and tulips blooming in January. But, although I’ve traded the gray Midwestern skies for Colorado sunshine, winter tends to extend well into what ought to be spring. (Case in point, we had a snow day last year during May finals.)
I must, though, admit that winter gets a bad rap. Literature tends to equate winter with harshness, despair, and death. In the symbolism of the seasons, winter isn’t where most literary characters want to find themselves.
Yet, we do. At times in our life, we do find ourselves in winter regardless the temperature outside. Winter is where bad things happen. And, “there’s the rub” as Shakespeare would say. Who is this God of winter? Why can’t it be summer all the time? What happens when things go awry? Is anyone in control here? Is God sometimes sleeping as Thomas Hardy postulates in Tess of the d’Ubervilles?
The answer we, as Christians, know is no. But, just because there is purpose and design in suffering from small irritants to life-debilitating circumstances doesn’t make it easy to bear. It is true that I should look on the positive more often. It’s true that there is much to be grateful for. Yet, honestly, I don’t always live there. My first thoughts often are not thankfulness. Those are things I have to remind myself of. They do not come naturally for me. And, I’m guessing they don’t come naturally for most of us.
Perhaps that is the why? for winter—to realize that the God of winter is still God after all.