Many of my friends love the weather in Florida... I suppose most people I know rave about it. While I can fully enjoy beautiful, mildly-warm, sunny days, I have always loved winter. It holds a bittersweet essence to which I am drawn. I wouldn't want it constantly, but in my mind there is a special place for winter.
As long as I can remember, I have been drawn to such things...things that seem to mirror the reality of our broken existence, how death lingers near yet (in Jesus) holds the promise of life.
While many of us experience a fair amount of happiness and basically good health, if we are honest and real, we will acknowledge that just around the bend lies potential devastation, illness, broken relationships, tears, heartache, separation, and even death. There remains, hovering in the shadows, potential loss whether we concede it or not. It seems to me I'd be a fool to ignore this reality, so I face it and believe I'm better off for doing so.
I have pondered while in sunny Florida numerous times, "Why do so many people get lost down here?" (And of course, it happens everywhere. But I've just known of and heard of so many Christians who lost their focus as they were lulled into the surrounding culture and melted into the materialistic society in this particular setting.) Why is it easy to forget eternity when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the flowers are blooming, and the waves are rolling?
Maybe the majestic waters lull us to sleep. Or maybe it's the sun in our face, the sand between our toes... So many pleasurable diversions can fill the mind, making us blind to the emptiness that a cold, snowy, can't-go-anywhere kind of day can expose.
If anybody delights in God's glorious creation, I do! But I have realized even the beauty of creation can blind me to my deepest need, to the seriousness of my condition in this hurting, fallen world. While I have so many blessings to be thankful for and to enjoy, I must never forget how needy I am. I must never drift into the pleasure of the now at the expense of the not-yet.
Wintertime helps remind me. It causes me to reflect on the cycle of life. It--and all the seasons together--are a picture of the slow decay that is happening in my own body, which (because I trust Jesus to take care of ultimately!) is simply pushing me closer and closer to complete and full redemption in a forever body, where sunshine will never cease and winter will be no more.
Revised and Reposted from 2011