I woke up today to a sheet of snow covering the ground. I first noticed it when I walked downstairs and into the kitchen to make my morning coffee. I looked out the window as I drew water to boil and wondered why the road looked white. It took me a few seconds to shake off the morning fog from my mind and realize that it had lightly snowed overnight!
Most of us are ready to be done with the snow by this time of year. Yes, even Canadians get tired of snow! A light dusting is nice in November, a covering is welcomed for Christmas, and the expected storms are tolerated in January and February. But by March, the cold and snow has run its course.
It is not uncommon, where I live, to receive a light snow like this at this time of year, but it feels unusual. It feels unnatural. Earlier this month, we had a string of days where the temperature hit the mid-teens, Celsius (mid-60s, Fahrenheit). Spring was on its way! And then, with the snow overnight, a reminder that winter isn’t completely ready to go back into hibernation.
For many of us, winter is either a season tolerated, or a season of reflection; perhaps both. We generally aren’t as active in the winter because of the cold and snow. We stay indoors more. We think about the spring and summer and create plans and share hopes for the future.
Our spiritual lives can be a lot like the lingering winter. After a time of growth, equivalent to spring and summer, our lives go into a holding pattern (autumn), and then a hibernation. It’s not that we feel stagnant, but we recognize that things between us and God are somewhat barren, cold, perhaps even in need of new life.
By practicing habits such as reflective Bible reading and listening prayer, we can begin to come out of our spiritual winters as we refocus on a stronger connection with God. But we need to be careful, because spiritual recovery like this has a fleeting aspect to it, where once we begin to find renewal with God, we forget that winter continues to linger, looking to ice us down with one last blast.
When this happens, do not turn away from your path, but stay on it, because when winter finally releases its snowy grip, you will find yourself in a spring of what is new.
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