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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Winter do your Worst

Gazing out the window at a wintry landscape. A weak sun fights through intermittent snow cloud cover, bare black branches silhouetted against the colourless sky. Now the snow flurries sweep across the field in columns of ghostly figures. I stifle an involuntary shiver.

I am not an ascetic. I grew up in a lovely climate and enjoy the heat and the year-round fragrances and lushness of foliage. But there is something sobering, challenging and probably healthy about a few weeks of winter winds.

It first struck me when I was a ‘newbie’ in Scotland. Every morning I flung open the curtains and if the weather wasn’t promising, my mood plummeted for the day. Eventually I decided that I couldn’t base my emotions on something as fickle and beyond control as the weather – so I stopped opening the curtains first thing and dug deep to find the source of happiness within me.

I’m reminded of the stories of children – and adults – in Africa and other developing communities who have absolutely nothing and yet glow with a radiant joy which erupts in laughter and cheerful banter. And I’m thinking that in contrast, how many of us in the west see therapists or pop pills or seek other ways to find that elusive joy. 

Blessed with living in a place of abundance, I need a reality check so that I don’t forget that the basis of happiness comes from a contented and thankful heart, a heart which recognises that all good gifts and especially that of life itself comes from our loving creator God. Seasoned with that dash of wisdom, I hope that if/when circumstances in my life are more wintry than summery, I will be able to dig deep and hunker down in the arms of my Saviour Jesus. Nobody and no circumstances can rob me of this most valuable of treasures, a relationship with the Lord of life.

So winter, do your worst. My outlook is not anchored in the weather forecast but in Jesus Christ, who will never desert me. What a blessing.

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