I’m writing this on my birthday, in late April. Last weekend, the frigid temperatures finally moderated for a moment, but the forecaster says there is a chance for frost again tonight. Wintertime has been very stubborn loosening its polar grasp this year.
With the globe heating up, isn’t it odd that our winters in Ohio seem to be longer? Maybe it’s just my perspective, but the dull, depressive days of wintertime seem to encompass almost half the year. Instead of April showers ushering in the emergence of new life and warmth, it was just the sixth successive month of cold and clouds.
Did you know that Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati all rate in the top ten of the cloudiest major cities in America? Pittsburgh and Indianapolis are in there, too. That’s our neck of the woods.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, as a state, Ohio is the eighth cloudiest. Only seven others have more overcast days, including Michigan at number seven.
At least we beat the Wolverines in sunshine last year, if not on the gridiron.
Have you ever heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? Also known as winter depression, I’m subject to these winter blues, and know the moodiness that accompanies the seasonal funk. I sleep more, eat more, socialize less, and veg endlessly in my recliner, like a grumpy grizzly caved in hibernation. Lackadaisical doesn’t begin to describe these blahs.
Why this extended season of sloth? Is there a purpose for such a long, dreadful downtime?
I’m glad you asked.
The Bible says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
The hideously tedious, seemingly never-ending winter season, prepares our souls to rejoice wholeheartedly in the birthing of a new spring. It’s like a renewal; a fresh start; a divine do-over.
As we bury the deadness of wintertime to embrace the emerging newness of spring’s resurrection, we experience the exhilaration of God’s creative plan. Leaving the sullen barrenness of the frigid season past, a new one arrives, full now of life, of promise, and hope.
Winter’s passing to spring serves as a meteorological metaphor of how our personal deadness is buried when a new life is birthed. That, my friend, is what Jesus meant when saying, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7).
When we embrace the forgiveness that Jesus offers in exchange for our cold, bleak, wintry past, the warmth of spring and the sprouting of a new life emerges.
As the scriptures say: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Everything becomes new again. It’s a fresh start.
We’ll talk about this more, and “a season for every activity under the heavens”, again next week, OK?
Dave Hinman is Pastor Emeritus at Dove Church Wilmington. Contact him at [email protected]