“You have fixed all the bounds of the earth; you made summer and winter.” – Ps. 74:17
Winter is a season where many things slow down, if not stop. With frigid artic air greeting us with North and South winds, short days that turn into dark nights, and snowy frozen landscapes on every harvested cornfield, we are reminded that it is Winter. Cold weather makes us “hunker down” in our homes with puzzles, hot tea and a good book by the fire. There is a kind of beauty in this season when the earth feels like a block of ice, when the snow crunches under our feet and when frozen fractals gather in the windowsill with artistic delight. Sometimes the weather itself makes us stop, almost like a seasonal Sabbath, to listen, to wait, to endure, to persevere through winter’s cold blast.
In John 10, the Gospel writer spoke of a time in Jesus’ ministry when things didn’t seem to be going well, a little frozen. The religious leaders were pushing Jesus on whether he was the Messiah or not (v. 24). Jesus addressed their “unbelief” and they took offense and were ready to stone him (v. 31). Jesus tried to talk more with them but it didn’t go well and they tried to arrest him (v. 39). This was not a good day. The Gospel writer began this section, “At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter…” (v. 22). A seminary professor pointed out that winter is a time when things aren’t growing, a time when there is coldness, a time when things were barren and this seemed to fit with Jesus’ experience.
This doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit is frozen stuck in winter. This doesn’t mean that we can’t experience vibrancy and even spiritual vitality in the winter, but sometimes it means that we wait. We wait for God to move and act. We do what we can do in Jesus’ name. We continue to follow Jesus, sometimes slipping, sometimes falling, sometimes stumbling, as we do when we walk through the rugged winter landscape, but we keep on keeping on. That’s what Jesus did, even in the winter time season of his ministry. That’s what inspires me to do the same. Winter is a season that God created
and we are all invited to see winter as a gift that can teach us and even inspire us. May God give us strength and faith as we walk through winter, knowing that it will not last forever. ~ Pastor Corey