Winter’s Blanket of Rest

Posted by on Nov 28, 2012 in Articles | 0 comments

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Mr. Winter has arrived in Upstate New York.  Last year, he made his entrance calmly, a gradual drop in temperature and gentle snowfall.  Not this year.  This year, he has rushed in with wind and blowing snow.  His greeting has created havoc on the roads, closing the highway, warning the people to stay in, safe from his disabling activity.

 

I’m not a big fan of Mr. Winter.  I’m a new-life-of-spring or warm-activity-of-summer kind of woman.  I like watching the buds break forth on the trees and the blossoms pushing up through the spring soil.  I love the sun shining vibrant and hot on the summer afternoons.  I don’t even mind the autumn, the harvest from the summer’s toil being carried into the store houses.  Winter, however, never finds the welcome mat at my door when he arrives.

 

Sixteen years I’ve lived in this world where winter hangs around for six or seven months of the year.  Most years, I find myself staring out my window at the death-grip of ice on the tree branches and the piles of snow that shroud the yard after the first real winter’s day, longing for the warming of the sun and the drip, drip, drip of the snow melting from the trees and the roof.  Winter always seems to arrive too early (regardless of whether the first snowfall occurs in early October or late November!) and end too late.

 

Today, I stand at my window, again staring at the ice cycles jutting threateningly from the roof’s edge and the snow swirling around my yard like mini tornadoes. The roads are snow-covered, the flakes pouring from the sky faster than the plows can clear them away.  It’s dark and foreboding, the clouds black and dreadful.  I don’t feel the same melancholy, however, that usually comes over me in these early days of winter.  Today, I feel more at rest, more accepting of the season ahead.

 

There are seasons for everything in God’s plan.  We have days of joy and days of weeping, times of planting and times of harvest, situations where we are to speak and situations when we are to keep silent.  We are instructed to work hard, to give our best in all that we do and then we are to set aside time to rest and recover from our toil.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 9:10; Colossians 3:23).

 

Rest plays an important role in God’s creation.  “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done,” (Genesis 2:2).   Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is seen “withdrawing to a solitary place” to pray and to rest, to get away from the masses.  Jesus, in Matthew 11:28, tells the people to “come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…”  In the Old Testament, God’s people are instructed to allow the land to rest every seven years (Leviticus 25:2).  For many of us, however, rest is a foreign concept.

 

We live in a society that is all rush, all excitement.  Twenty-four-seven, there are places to shop, eat, drive and be entertained.  People find themselves working and rushing, around the clock.  Sleep deprivation, anxiety, and health problems plague us as we try to maintain the frantic pace that has been set for us.  That isn’t the way God planned for us to live.  Just as God rested on the Sabbath, the land is given rest in due season, and Jesus withdrew to quiet solitude, we need time to rest and refresh.  We need to learn to stop the busy-ness and enjoy some respite.

 

As I look out at the snow blanketing my yard, I thank the Lord for His divine purpose.  Just as the winter season allows the earth time to rest and prepare for the coming spring of new life, times of rest in my own life will allow the Lord to refuel and refresh me for His plans for me.  Instead of dreading the winter months – the days and weeks of seclusion and inactivity – I can rejoice in the Lord and welcome the blanket of peace and rest He alone can cover me with.

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