I enjoy the imperative quality of winter. Love it or hate it, you cannot ignore it. Even if you travel south to escape it, it is winter that drives the decision. With all of the blandness of real power, winter simply occurs all over us. Intruding on a culture dedicated to convenience, winter is stupendously inconvenient. It takes us out of ourselves; does not allow the easy evasion of our humanity which summer sometimes gives us. The most graceful and athletic of us may slip and fall, the quickest of walkers be reduced to a hobble, the most work- driven overachievers forced into a day off.
Winter brings us to our senses. We become acutely aware of moving air when it comes straight out of Canada. Icy pavement makes us sensitive to every nuance of the earth we walk so carelessly with our summer stride. Light becomes a snow-gathered glitter which forces closed our eyes, while its palette is reduced: white, blue and black are the only colors of the winter woods. The world is structure and line, as if sketched in graphite.
Are you ever so acutely aware of heat and moisture as at the first step into a warm winter kitchen? Doesn’t the skin on your cheeks open like a flower, your sense of smell return in a flood of aroma? Are you ever so luxuriantly relaxed as after a winter trek when everything you touch is warm? Does anything taste as good as food eaten around a warm table, the shrill light of the snow softened by windows, the air heard, not felt?
From a world of spare simplicity, we are returned to a world of textured richness; our senses, cleaned and renewed, are filled; our spirits, chastened and enlivened, are grateful.
The gift of winter is gratitude, gratitude for the simple gifts of warmth and food, gratitude for life, heart and spirit. May the season fill you with its gift.
See you in church, Rev. Steve