The Winter Doldrums

He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.

Psalm 147: 16

I woke up this morning to the tinkling of ice hitting the windows as the wind stripped frosty tree branches of ice left behind from yesterday’s winter storm. I snuggled deeper into my comforter, thankful for a cozy bed and a warm home, and enjoyed the icy symphony playing outside – a  melody of beauty in the midst of winter.

When I finally coaxed myself out of bed, I looked out the window and was greeted by the sun cascading across the snowy mountain landscape. Footprints in the snow revealed evidence that white-tailed deer had stopped in during the night to eat the corn I put out for them.

Red-belled woodpeckers were furiously pecking away at the suet cakes. Several cardinals flitted from tree to tree in all their glorious color, commanding attention against the snowy scene. Squirrels scampered between the bird feeders enjoying a sunflower feast with finches and chickadees.

Winter is my least favorite season of the year, and I often find myself grumbling about the cold weather and being stuck indoors, which makes it easy to sink into what my mother used to call the “winter doldrums.” When I was a kid, I never really knew what doldrums meant. The dictionary defines the doldrums as a period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression, which is a pretty accurate description of winter at my house.

It’s easy to see the winter season only in a negative way, but it has a unique beauty of its own if we choose to look for it.

Winter allows for a time of rest for many people following the busy holiday season. There is less yard work and gardening to be done. Winter is a cozy season. It’s a season where evenings are spent by the fireplace. It’s a time to enjoy comfort foods. What smells better than a pot of soup simmering on the stove or a fresh baked loaf of homemade bread in the oven when the icy winds are blowing outside?  Winter is the time to wrap up in warm quilt and read thick novels or watch a favorite movie while enjoying a steaming cup of tea or hot chocolate.

Winter has a beauty of its own. When nature paints a winter masterpiece across the mountain, it’s breathtaking.  Did you ever marvel at how bright everything is when snow is covering the landscape? It’s nearly blinding when the sun reflects off the surface. That’s what happens to our sins when we repent and confess them before God.

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them white as wool. “

Isaiah 1: 18

If that’s not enough to make us appreciate winter and snow a little bit more, I don’t know what is! Imagine our worst, smelly, dirty, and ugly sins being forgiven and made as white as snow. It’s a humbling thought! In fact, it should bring us to our knees. What an incredible gift it is for each of us to be forgiven by our Holy God, no matter how many times we mess up.

I probably spend too much time longing for spring during the winter season. However, God made the seasons and has a purpose for each one. There is beauty in this often dreaded season of winter if we simply choose to look for it.

Are you experiencing the winter doldrums? What’s one thing you can choose to celebrate about the winter season today?

 

 

 

 

 

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