I tend to think of winter as a very short season which starts sometime in November and maybe lasts through January. When most people in the northern hemisphere are sporting parkas in the winter, it is not uncommon for those in South Texas to be donning shorts on Christmas day. I’m caught off guard a bit when a real blast of winter comes in February or April. Growing up in South Texas, our winters were always mild. Well, I suppose I can’t say “always” as there was that one year (one – in my almost half a century life) that it snowed. In truth then, besides that one phenomenon, our winters were always mild.
I remember one Easter Sunday in particular when everyone had fussed about, as usual, to acquire their perfect attire for Easter Sunday. For the ladies, the perfect spring floral dress and new pastel shoes. For the gentlemen, the crisp white dress shirt with a fresh new tie – if they were the tie-wearing sort, that is.
Our church met in a local school gym at that time. You can imagine how drafty it was with its tall ceilings, cinderblock walls, and glossy wood flooring. Along came a cold snap. Winter came on Easter Sunday. It was unheard of, really. But so many who had it stuck in their heads that it was spring simply had to wear their new Easter duds. I sat in the back and watched those who chose fashion over practicality shiver. Winter had surprised us and many weren’t prepared or simply chose not to accept it. Winter was not supposed to come in April. Winter is for December.
Aren’t we all like that sometimes? We get comfortably settled into a warm weather pattern expecting things to stay the same. Then we are surprised when winter comes ill-timed. We’re not prepared for it. We like the warmth of all things consistent. It’s safe there. We somehow get in our head that it would be fine to wear our Easter clothes at Christmas when what we really need is a nice warm coat.
When we moved to England it was summer and warm and mostly sunny. So many people warned us of the winter here. 100 Days of Darkness, they call it. The days are short. Very short. The sun comes up around 7 am and goes down around 4 pm. Having always lived in warm climate areas like South Texas, Singapore, and Brazil, I’ve only ever really visited winter. I wondered what it would be like to live in winter.
By cooler days and fireplace worthy nights, the 100 Days of Darkness approached and the need for preparations set in. We stockpiled wood for the fire. I up’d my dose of vitamin D, stocked my closet with boots and scarves and I would relish the blue skies and sunshine.
When winter comes, and it will come, I want to be prepared for its arrival.
Earlier this week I looked out the window of our cozy cottage in England, it was sunny. I took notice as the sun’s rays beamed through the unclad trees and danced through my windows. The sky had shades of blue peeking through the bright gray. The birds chirped their morning song in the crisp chill of the new day. I pondered the beauty and wondered how long this would last. The weatherman predicted snow for later in the week. Winter was coming.
Today it did snow a little but still, the winter here in Surrey has been mild. I pause to wonder if winter, real winter, is yet to come. Perhaps it will come in February. Or April. Or maybe winter will come in July.
In our lives, we seldom have the luxury of a weatherman predicting winter’s arrival. The trumpet does not blow announcing the coming of hard times although we are certainly told that hard times will come. (John 16:33) We must be mindful in our good days to prepare for hard days as best we can. We should soak up the rays, crack open the windows, bend an ear to the songbirds, and inhale deeply the beauty.
For when winter comes, and it will come, we will then be prepared.
Rest assured, however, that when winter comes, it won’t last forever. For spring will come again.
What do you do in your personal or spiritual life to prepare for “winter”? Will winter catch you without your coat? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share in the comments here or on the EPFH Facebook page if that’s easier for you.
My friend, Kelly Smith, at Mrs. Disciple, hosts a themed Friday link up and the theme for this go ’round is “Winter”. I’m linking this post up with hers and several other really great posts on the same topic. I hope you’ll jump over there and find something that encourages you.