Winter Joy

This morning dawn bright and cold. Everything was guilded by layer of frost. It looked magical yet somewhat bleak at the same time. You know that winter is not far off when the frosts start to make their appearance.

Winter. As a season it heralds in the joyous occasion of Christmas, yet it also, for some, brings with it a sense of darkness, depression, and heartache.

Winter. It can hit at anytime of year. Times of trouble, of not enough, of despair can be likened to winter.  Things are laid bare; striped of life. It is a dark season, a seaon of wondering if life and goodness will ever return. Of feeling cold, so very, very cold; frost nipping and biting at the very heart of a body. Of feeling so overly burdened by life that we bend under the weight of it, like the tree branches laden with snow.

As I drove to work to today, the trees, those barren trees, and the frosty bushes, caught my attention.  Have you ever noticed that all, okay most, plant life points upwards. No, really, have you ever noticed that? How the trees, despite the season have their branches, regardless of the season, raised to the heavens? Even the evergreens with branches that dip so low, have their tips pointing upwards, as if to show that they know that life comes from the Father Creator, from the Son? Even the shrubs, grasses, flowers, they all point up, as if to point the way; as if they all know who will carry them, take care of them during the winter, and who will renew them when winter is over.

These trees, these shrubs, these living plants show the way for us to also overcome winter.  How long would winter hold sway over us if we but follow their example, and raise our arms to heaven? If we but stood strong in the place where we were planted, instead of running off? If we trusted in the fact that winter will not last forever, and that spring will come? If the trees can do it year after year, what’s stopping us from doing the same thing?

In that place, of trust, of raising our arms to Abba Father in our time of need, our time of despair, peace will come. Joy will come. Thanksgiving will come. And He will pick us up out of the detrious of our pain and circumstance, like any loving father who has a hurt child, and carry us, nurture us, hold us, until winter has passed and we can once again run through warmer days, that hold the promise of new life.

And once there we can sing of His goodness and say with absolute conviction:

“What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord
What peace, what peace for those whose comfort is 
Is Him alone
What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord
What peace, what peace for those whose comfort is 
Is Him alone”  (What Joy; Artist: Generation Church; Album: All Things New)

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 

Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.

 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
10 The Lord shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord! (Psalm 146 (NKJV)


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