I grew up with palm trees overhead and flip-flops on my feet every single Christmas. Florida doesn’t exactly celebrate “the changing of the seasons,” which might explain why I will pull the car over just to get a picture of the leaves changing and clap my hands at the first snowfall.
For eighteen years, I experienced summer year-round. This has its perks of course, but it also means that when we say our final goodbye to summer and fall arrives in the south sometime mid-November, I become “that girl.”
The one who gushes over hues of red and maroon, school bus yellow and bright orange. The girl putting on a scarf every morning, stirring soup on the stove in the afternoon, and lighting a pumpkin or cinnamon candle in the evening.
It isn’t perfect and life is still, well, life, but something inside comes alive as the calendar pages turn, the temperature drops, and the leaves shine.
What’s normal to others feels like magic to me, shimmering like a filter and covering everything from the laughter of children to the delicious smell that greets you when the coffee shop door opens.
But the reality is, it won’t last forever.
The leaves are going to fall, crinkling and floating down, only to be crunched right before snow makes its arrival.
What was so beautiful and vibrant will die as a new season arrives, bringing with it a soft, cool stillness. Winter will slide in, covering the colors with a chill. The sudden quiet of winter can be unsettling or lonely, and it’s all too easy to dread the silence, holding onto fall as long as possible.
This carries over into life away from the calendar page, too. We fall in love with a ‘season’ that’s full of beautiful moments, laughter and smiles. Friendships are strengthened, new relationships are formed, and we can see God redeeming broken pieces from the past. The promise of Isaiah 43:18-19 rings true and we can see Him at work making all things new. Things aren’t perfect, of course, but overall everything is good.
Yet winter is coming.
We may not know the exact timing, the when or the how, but just as summer collapses into fall, winter will surely make its arrival in due time.
Last December, I wrote Truth to Hold onto When Everything is Changing. Another year has nearly come and gone, and in many ways this set of three-hundred-and-sixty-five has felt like one long winter with brief glimpses of the hope of spring, the joy of summer and the beauty of fall.
But here in the season that is rarely welcomed with gratitude as the cold sets in with a heavy blanket of grey, I’m finding that hope often grows in the dark and the quiet has so very much to say.
Winter invites us to slow down, to rest and remember that the promise-maker is a promise-keeper who even now is working to make all things new.
He is a God of seasons, the One who keeps time and is outside of time all at the same time. He will not be rushed, but neither will He be late. He is the God who comes to us and stays with us and cannot be confined to a calendar page.
As Charles Spurgeon said, “The seasons change and you change, but the Lord abides evermore the same, and the streams of His love are as deep, as broad and as full as ever.”
There it is, the promise in every season: He is unchanging.
And this unchanging One? He could have come on any day at any time.
He’s the hope of spring, the joy of summer, and the beauty of fall . . . and yet He chose the winter.
After four hundred years of silence, in the bitter cold and the dark of night, Light broke through.
The Creator held by human hands that He created, swaddled in a manger. Angels proclaiming good news for all. Shepherds searching on the outskirts of town. A long-ago promise fulfilled.
Hope. Joy. Beauty. Right there, even in the winter.
Emmanuel, God with us. Even now, even here, even today. He’s the God who comes . . . and the One who stays.
A blessing for the changing of the season:
In every high and every low, may we remember that we do not walk alone. There is grace for each moment in a Guide who makes a way and a Friend that stays beside. The seasons may change, but His love will remain the same. Instead of holding our breath in fear or dread, may we breathe in His abundant grace and breathe out trust in the Keeper of time. With hands open and eyes fixed, may we rest and remember: For everything there is a season, and He’s with us in every one.
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