Despite its beauty, winter is a season about death and dark places. The green that brings life has disappeared with the light and we are left with a chill that cuts to the bone. And it’s perfect. Winter, in its place amongst the other seasons, is an absolute necessity. You see, it completes and restarts the story told in the gospels. The cycle of the seasons God created is telling us a story, the story, in fact.
In the darkness and silence (winter), the advent people were longing for the promise of their God. Then, like new life springing forth from the ground, the angel comes to Mary with another promise and a baby. Jesus comes (spring) and with him the hope of a new life and a new kingdom. He begins his public ministry (summer); he teaches, he heals, he rebukes and he invites everyone to be a part of his father’s coming kingdom. But then, he begins to speak of having to die (autumn). His tone becomes a little sharper and like the first frost, the chill of his predicated death strikes his followers. As the light begins to fade, the story continues: betrayal, arrest, trial, beating. Then the crucifixion. The Light of the World that is life to all is placed in the ground (winter). And three days later, the resurrection brings about the promise of true new life (spring) and so the cycle goes.
God gave us the seasons to tell us his story. That the light comes from the darkness. That life comes from a dying. This is echoed throughout the scriptures. You want to have life; die to yourself and take up your cross.
So we needn’t despair the winter, or be afraid of a dying in our lives. For it is only from the darkness and dying that new life and light will come.
VERSE: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Prayer: O God of the seasons, we are grateful for the way you use your creation to tell your story. But more than that, we are grateful for the way you have ordered your creation to bring us life, even as we pass through death. Help to remember the in the seasons of our lives that winter will come, that winter must come in order to bring about the spring.