For the past week I have been visiting friends and family in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Montana. Most Texans avoid these regions in January. But, when you have grandchildren in Montana, what can you do?
The weather tricked us. We discovered balmy weather in the forties and fifties, with no snow. Instead of blizzard conditions with blowing snow, we were greeted with brown grass, bare ground and blowing dust. My friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin were not happy. They despise a wimpy winter. Maybe that is why the Packers lost last night to the Giants. Playing at Lambau field, site of the famous ice-bowl in 1967, the weather must have confused them. Yesterday we went to church in Billings, Montana without wearing a parka. What is this?
While many are happy for a respite from shoveling snow and digging out cars, we can’t help but miss the sounds of children giggling down snow-covered slopes, the slap of hockey sticks in the park, the sight of snowmen standing sentry in front yards, not to mention ice-fishing and snow mobiles. Of course, winter might still show up. She has several months left to make her appearance. When I woke up this morning it was 7 degrees with several inches of snow that fell overnight. It should get up to 15 today even though the temps are predicted to return to the forties by Saturday. Without winter’s harsh grip it is difficult to fully experience spring’s miracle: thawing streams, budding limbs, fields of flowers and fresh green grass.
The seasons somehow enrich us with rhythm purpose and meaning. They help us recognize our connection with creation including the migrating geese and the hibernating bear, badger and bee..
From the dawn of creation, God provided seasons. In Genesis, “Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.” (Genesis 1:14).
Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
Life is lived in seasons: birth-childhood and youth; young adulthood; middle age; old age and death. Every season is unique. Every season is to be received as a gift from God and celebrated. Each has its challenges, difficulties, advantages, sorrows and joys.
When Jeremiah looked at seasons and the miracle of nature, he was reminded of how disconnected human beings can become from their creator. “Even the stork in the sky
knows her seasons; and the turtledove and the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration; but My people do not know the ordinance of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 8:7).
Maybe this winter, however it turns, can remind us to celebrate all the seasons of life, living in a way that remains connected to the Creator and His creation.