It's that time of year again with the lights on the Christmas tree twinkling softly whilst seasonal jazz music plays gently in the background. Frozen drops hang gently on the windows as the inside warmth meets the breath taking cold air of winter. Snowflakes glisten in the sun as the chickadee pair play, twitterpated, on bare branches. I breathe deep, sugar and cream sweetened tea seeping warmth into my hands.
There's something glorious about entering the winter months. Anticipation of rosy cheeks and rolled up snow, hot apple cider and the promise of precious moments reading classic children's stories under piles of blankets are memorable and exciting, yet there's something more. Something that runs much deeper than that which we can tangibly see and hold. British poet Edith Sitwell once wrote that "Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home." I believe she's touched on that which often goes unseen, yet is felt most deeply.
Perhaps the glory of this season is because we have finally come to terms with the death of fall, and our groaning has subsided as grief has given way to deep rest. And in the still silence of this place, with our hands and hearts open to that which is around us, we can finally look back on that which has withered, and that which has grown, marvelling at the beauty of life, and wonder at where this journey has brought us thus far, acknowledging that we still have so far to go. Perhaps these reflections and recognitions, we are finally able to drink deep of the joys of life and partake in the joining together of friends and strangers in preparation and acknowldegement of something much larger and grander than ourselves.
Sitwell ends with the proclaimation that winter, in all of its simplicity and granduer, is above all the time for home. Home - the place where we belong, where we can stop trying and wrestling and worrying, simply allowing ourselves to be our beautifully broken selves knowing that we are not only accepted as we are, but we are wholly loved for who we are in this present moment.
And so as we find ourselves here in this place of entering winter once again, let us pray that the LORD would fill us to overflowing with the joy and peace that comes as we open our hearts and hands to Him in complete, childlike trust - so that by the power of the Spirit we will find ourselves abounding with confident hope. (Romans 15:13)