The Gift of Winter
December 23, 2022 | Elisa Dorman
Ribbons of fog lace through low-lying fields on cool mornings. The last, browned, translucent leaves quake in growingly bitter winds. Day by day, winter cold descends from the West, brooding silently under December's cirrus-cloud sky. Rural folk wrestle with tarps and tinker with heating systems. We stack wood, store feed, and hitch snow plough attachments. We unearth insulated coveralls from basements, change the batteries in headlamps rescued from junk drawers, and perhaps, wonder why God would make our land so hostile to life in the long months of winter. Why is half the year in this place we call home characterized by fruitless trees, barren ground, perils of ice, piles of snow, and long dark nights? Why must we endure numb fingers, frozen troughs, and for many, yield-less, income-less in-between?
Or is it better to ask how God might have given us northern-climate dwellers something very good?
Perhaps winter is a gift - a time to rest. It's a quieter, slower song in the rhythm of life that keeps the chorus of the warmer-season bustle sweet. Let us embrace it.
Rest in the humility of kindling fires. Breathe deep in the simplicity of landscapes cloaked in mesmerizing white, God's symbol of forgiveness lavished over us. Let a hush fall over the commotion of your thoughts when surrounded by the silence of snow. Let the off-season for hard work be the on-season for heart work. Linger indoors for the sun to come up or for engines to warm and glean the wisdom of waiting. Not least that we are more than the productivity of our hands or efficiency of our operations, but children of God, precious and loved for who we are and not merely what we make. As the freezing ground is forced to cease its striving, follow its lead.
Refresh plans made in spreadsheets and prepare with diligence for the anticipated coming of spring. In the wake of frost's calm, recalibrate also your souls for the promised life ahead. For one day, like the writer of Song of Songs rejoices (2:11-12), we will behold that the winter is over and a time of singing has come. So as you long for sunnier mornings with spring-bird songs, long also, with joy, for the day when we meet Jesus face to face.
Finally, take hold of the gift of this season by making space in your hearts and homes for Christmas delight. With a backdrop of chilly grey, kitchens in December feel more than ever like hearths of comfort and colour. Dwell with gratitude in homes full of family, around tables heaped with food, and beside trees laid with gifts and light. Take moments when labour is light, to just beautifully exist in the gift of winter.
Elisa Dorman is a freelance writer. This commentary was first published in the Fall/Winter 2022 edition of CFFO’s The Steward. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXS Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and CHLP Listowel.