A SEASON OF CONTRAST
It is a cold evening as I make my way to the barn. The ground is covered with snow. Long gone are the magnificent colours of autumn days; winter is upon us. The water in the rabbit's cages begins to freeze before I have even left the barn and already three frozen ice buckets have cracked. I can just barely see the outlines of the sheep in the outside pen. Choosing to lie down on the icy cold frozen ground, their heads turn as they silently watch me enter into the barn. Maybe they are hoping they won't have to get up.
Once inside the barn, the sheep get up and stumble in as they realize that it may just be worth the effort. I offer up some icy cold water from the well but their eyes tell me this isn't what they had hoped for. Feeling guilty, I throw them a few flakes of hay to munch on.
Snack finished, the sheep move back outside and once again prepare to lie down on the frozen ground. It is more than just a skilful process but a moment to enjoy, watching as they drop to their knees, sliding each slender leg under their expansive bellies. Snuggling under their long fleece coats, they settle. "Sorry to have disturbed you."
Winter is a season of sharp contrasts. We hate it; yet it comes as an old friend with wonderful memories. Nothing escapes its impact. Despite its harshness, each new snowfall softens everything it touches, hiding the greys and browns of this time of year. On and around the farm, in the woods, the animals are warmed by their timely thickened coats. Its bleakness imposes times of warmth and comfort as family and friends gather around fires with hot chocolates, steaming cups of coffee, gentle conversations, gift giving...much like walking through cold uncomfortable times in our lives forces us to become intimate with the saviour. There is not a cold bleak place we can go where He has not been and felt also the paradox of winter. He came as a baby in a manger but reigns as a king. His words were simple but His message magnificent. He gave us a priceless gift in exchange for our simple hearts.
Like the surprises that lie hidden in the barren landscape of winter, God brings light into the darkness of our world, into our lives for those who patiently wait. His gentle loving presence will warm our hearts in the mid bleak winter of our lives. Through this bleakness, we see what is of true value. We will set aside that which we once loved. What we thought was of no value, becomes priceless- His presence, His comfort, His promises. He comes into our midst to bring us peace. Thank you Lord.