It's become popular to describe different times in our lives as "seasons". The notion is that when things are bad, it is only temporary- a season- and things will get better. There are seasons in marriage, seasons in our relationship with Christ, and seasons during the year. Personally I'm not a fan of that use of this word. Our calendar is marked off by the seasons; they are predictable and last for a set amount of time. On the other hand, the "seasons" in our lives are unpredictable and could continue for any duration. We don't know how high our highs will be, or how low our lows. We don't know when the snow will thaw and flowers will bloom.
But if we were to describe our lives by the seasons, winter would describe a time marked by a cold, barren landscape. Wedged between death, or our lowest low, and rebirth. You might describe it as the long climb back up to spring.
For many, winter is depressing. The days are shorter and if you live where it does get bitterly cold, you try to avoid going outside. Winter also means labor. It's one thing to mow your lawn, it's a whole other to shovel a couple of feet of snow first thing in the morning. You need to start the car early to warm it up and to thaw the windows. If you wear glasses and are outside for long, you notice they fog up when you go back inside.
Doesn't sound too appealing, does it? But I love winter. I'm in Southern California and I miss the snow of my home growing up. Believe it or not, I miss shoveling! It snowed here this winter. For a day. My kids loved it. They built a snowman that melted by the time I returned from work. I love to go out early after a fresh snow. Every step a fresh footprint in the pure blanket before me. The crunch of water and ice under my feet. Then, after some time, and some traffic, those footprints are no more and the pure snow is replaced with tracks of muddy, sooty, slush. So I treasure that moment when the snow is fresh, while it is still pure.
My description doesn't really fit in with the "winter of our discontent" season of life. There's the joy of children playing. The hopefulness of the holidays. The purity of the snow.
But snow melts. The days grow longer (even now the sun is beginning to peek up when only a month ago it would've been pitch black out). And there is rebirth. Yet I miss the snow.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:9-11)