The arrival of winter is magical to me, so much so I often become giddy at the first sign of a cold front. I even cried at my first glimpse of snow this year. Call me crazy, but I think there's something so wonderful about winter. Maybe it's because I know it precedes Spring, but more than that, there's something to enjoy in the slowness, the search for a cozy, warm space, the awe and wonder at the scenes painted in snow and ice.
Today marks the first official day of winter, and I'm both ready and expectant for it. A couple of years ago, as two friends were praying for me, they referenced the end of Psalm 23, which says "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life..." Sometimes (or most times) that's more of a faith statement than reality, but in the seasons of lack, confusion, or brokenness is when faith counts most and when I pull out this scripture again and again.
You see, making it through the winter with spirits and head held high requires faith and a trust in something or someone we cannot see. And once you come out on the other side, the next year winter comes, it's as if you know goodness and mercy are coming, if not already here.
I was driving through southern Kansas on my way home to my parents house a few days ago and looked out the window to see the snow covering the rolling hills and fields and heard a still soft voice. I heard the a soft whisper saying just as the snow covers the earth, so does grace and mercy cover me. And it settles into a pure, soft, still, and beautiful layer as if to say what's underneath isn't the primary concern. It's the grace and the mercy that matters most - and it's what we can see if we'd pause to look.
To me, winter represents a softness and a stillness, a sweet season to lean into the covering of grace and mercy, and a trust that underneath the ground spring is coming forth. It's a season of expectation and purpose - one that brings hope and fills my heart with faith.
This year I get to take a two week break from life and work (although I'm doing a few things here and there) and my plan is to revel in the stillness of winter, to soak it in, and really enjoy it. I'll take time to set my 2017 goals and may even share some year-end questions or a goal setting guide with you, so stay tuned. But in the meantime, I hope you'll lean in and enjoy winter, too.
If you're looking for an inspiring winter read, check out the the Cageless Birds winter issue. I picked it up at a friend's house last week and already ordered my own copy. It's filled with little short stories, poems, and writings from those who appreciate and lean into winter. Do yourself a favor and order one.