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At Winters End

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Darkness descends upon us earlier and stays longer. Flowers cease to bloom; they either die or lie dormant under the ground. The cold gray air requires pulling out heavy coats and sweaters, hats, scarves and boots. People are wrapped in so many layers that they are barely recognizable until they run indoors to shed the protective layers. Heated homes are both a refuge from the elements as well as places of isolation and loneliness.

We all have winter seasons in our lives. We’ve experienced emotional and or spiritual darkness; darkness that seemed like it would never end. We have watched helplessly as the garden of hope in our lives has either died or found itself buried deep in the soil of our lives, dormant like floral bulbs. We feel cold, alone, isolated. The seed we have sown, choices we have made, or circumstances that have occurred beyond our choosing, loom large and ominous like the endless dreary winter day.

Winter is not my favorite time of the year except for the occasional snow fall that comes during this time of year. Unlike most people, I don’t just want a light dusting that makes things look picturesque, I like blizzards! The snow storms that upon prediction, make people run to the grocery store to buy milk and bread. I like the kind of storms that make us hunker down and stop our normal routines. It’s a time of reconnection internally as well as with those around us.

When these blizzards come, they completely change the landscape. Everything is covered with glistening purity that symbolizes a fresh start. The morning after a fresh snow fall, the sun reflects off of each surface with such brilliance that protective eye wear may be necessary. Neighbors emerge from their homes chatting lightly with one another about how man inches of snow accumulated. There is a camaraderie and a sense of community that doesn’t seem to occur amidst the normal routines of life.

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Many people suffer with an illness called SADD (Seasonal Affected Depression Disorder) during this time of year. The long, dark, cold days and nights seem to heighten the loneliness they feel inside. It reminds me of the opening line of Shakespeare’s play, Richard the III: “Now is the winter of our discontent” – the story of a man who feels rejected by the world and thus creates an exaggerated deformity that justifies his negative relationships to those around him.

There are believers who have a more acute form of this disorder. I call it Spiritual Affected Depression Disorder. They suffer the chronic pains of each season of their lives like it was an incurable disease. They view the struggle of the season as if it is just their “lot“in life. They miss the wonderful inheritance we have through Christ called GRACE! Grace that is sufficient for every season of our lives. Like a major snow storm over powers everything in it’s wake, so the love and grace of our Lord over shadows every circumstance we may be facing. Like snow storms, the storms of our lives can be a catalyst for connection with each other as we share what has happened in our lives with others.

The bible says that we overcome Satan by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (Re. 12:11).

Like the glistening blanket of freshly fallen snow, we can enjoy the glistening refreshment of God amazing grace. Many of you may not enjoy snow like I do, but it really serves a purpose in nature. Shoveling snow can be difficult, but it has many health benefits as well. It gets the heart moving, makes you sweat out the toxins in your body. When you come inside, your body is ready for rest. 

Get out there and shovel some grace today…it’s good for your heart!

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

1Timothy 1:14

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