Monday, December 12, 2016

“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!”
Thomas Wentworth Higginson

I found the above quote on the back page of GARDEN GATE magazine this fall and it caught my attention.  The garden photo accompanying the quote pictured pristine snow adorning an urn of greens and berries.   With our warm fall we Minnesotans were wishing for the beauty of a white Christmas,  frosted window panes, one horse open sleighs, sledding on hills of soft snow and digging forts into mounds of snow gathered from the yard……..and the neighbor’s yard and the other neighbor’s yard.  At least that’s what my grandsons, Soren and Kai, do.  Minnesota winters are gorgeous.  Their beauty restores our faith in a creator who fills our hearts with wonder and awe.  Bring winter on!
But wait.  Perhaps there is another message here.  When the temperatures dropped to the single digits this week and the winds whipped the snow in horizontal paths I wondered if Elsa was back using her powers to bring on a frozen Christmas as she did in Arendelle.  Minnesotans love beautiful snow and winter activities but there is also the discomfort, the shoveling, the danger of hyperthermia.  All is not well in Arendelle when the snow stays too long or the winter is too harsh.  Some Minnesotans pack up and leave for awhile.  Not a bad idea if you can do it.  Others tough it out.  We are descendants of the Vikings after all.  We have  invented tools to help us survive;  snow blowers, snowmobiles, snow plows, down outerwear, down comforters, and the list goes on.  Flu shots, kleenex, Vicks, and heating pads help manage our health concerns.  We build our strength so we can push our grocery carts through the Cub parking lot and walk the dog in the sub zero weather.  Maybe Thomas Wentworth Higginson was suggesting that when we have survived the tough times we realize how blessed we are to have God walking beside us through the deepest snow and the coldest winter.  With God by our side we can appreciate the beauty around us and know we are cared for. 

Bring on winter!  Should we feel sorry for those who lounge on the beaches, garden all year long and  never freeze their fingers?  No, but let’s be hardy Minnesotans and learn to love our mukluks, long underwear and jumper cables.  It helps us appreciate spring.  Thank you, God, for the seasons, even winter!