The Wonder in Winter: Reflections

winter wonderland

 

The winter months do it for me…

I can’t help but write delightedly, wonder-filled, as I yearly rediscover the gifts the season yields, crisping leaves giving way to floating flakes. Born in the heart of Autumn, I’m a child again each fall when the temperatures drop, my heart warming like the earthen palette. I spend September through March rightly relishing the changing landscape, delighting in the twinkling of white lights and this sun-sparkling, white-blanketed, blessed time of year.

…The time of year my heart comes alive.    

I adore the characteristic sparkle; the magic of Christmastime that sets my heart rejoicing. Invigorated by the festive buzz of activity, I’m warmed right through by the coziness of sitting fireside with loved ones. Life is rich this time of year, with family gathered close, and cherished, holiday treasures decking our halls, pulled out and placed about when it’s time to make merry…

…And when it’s time to revel, hope brimming, in the Baby that changed our everything. We refocus, re-redeemed, in the sacred retelling and reliving of His story. And with eyes intently fixed on the Christ Child’s Creche, all is set right in our world.

christmas tree

 

This most wonderful time of year finds me savoring its delicious history…sometimes daydreaming I’d be content to spend the winter months in a log cabin bedecked with boughs, beside a crackling fire, making maple sugar candy in pans of snow like Laura Ingalls Wilder…relishing simpler, slower times. I suppose wintertime appeals to the introvert, the quality time cherisher in me—it’s the way I was made. There’s no place I’d rather be than on the couch under a blanket, sipping from a steaming mug, and cuddled up with my kids, reading books or watching movies. This, bliss, fills me to the brim.

Wintertime—it’s majesty. So with every God-authored season, but there is something ultra sacred about the silence of falling flakes, settling soundless, grace covering all. Like the Creator reaching down—gentle–to still us, His children, scurrying so. And reset us at awestruck, beholding His wonderment in white.

Despite the inherent holiday hurry, by its very nature this time of year slows things; slows us. The chilling of the earth, freezing time’s hands, makes us draw inward, our heart’s gaze turned Upward. A seasonal Sabbath–our need for this is dire; our Heavenly Father knew it at winter’s inception–and knows it still.

Here, some reflections over the past several winters, pausing to capture some of the magic of my favorite time of year…

 Winter, 2013

 At this very moment, on the frosty first of February, I’m robed and wrapped in a cuddly throw on a lush chaise at a legendary Colorado spa. Before me wraps an idyllic panoramic window, outside of which gloriously spreads, as far as my eyes can see, easily the most breathtaking winter scene I’ve ever beheld. Snow is masterfully dusted upon each verdant frond of the towering evergreens gracing the landscape, as well as in every last crevice of the majestic mountain peaks to the left of this placid panorama. Untouched powder brilliantly blankets the earth, and above it geese glide geometrically across the expanse, as if on cue….

Perfection. And I can see God in all of it. As my heart soars to behold such beauty, a group of similarly blue-robed women wanders in–but we couldn’t be more different. They, grousing about the weather, displeased and anxiously awaiting the thaw, and me, shaking my head inwardly at the beauty, squandered by contrarians…

Today, a day later, in the same captivating setting, the sunshine filters gloriously over the peaks in the snow-covered portrait before me, and I am as in love as ever. As I watch warmed rooftop snowfall descending in drops, I’m thankful that when the inevitable melt occurs, there is always the certainty of winter’s glorious return in a year’s time.

I love this time of year for all its romance, magic, induced introspection, and the warmth to be found on the other side of the frosted glass. Quality time with family is ripe for the taking–cherished ones forced indoors as in no other season…the timelessness of the earth blanketed in plush white: the same scene in which, at which humanity has reveled and wondered for thousands of years. God’s creation, frozen in some sort of trance-like, ethereal beauty, bearing His fingerprints perhaps more dramatically than in any other season…otherworldy in its placidity and exquisite allure.

Winter, 2014

I was naturally in heaven today–in early December, when my kids and I visited a local historic pioneer village, blanketed in sparkling snow, all Christmas-ed out, utterly lovely. In the entrance, a perfectly-Victorian Father Christmas welcomed us to the era with candy canes, flanked by a towering Tannenbaum skirted by antiqued sleds and ice skates. Once outside, enveloped in our own Narnia, my heart soared as I watched my children, snugly bundled, race through the snow toward the festively bedecked covered wagon we would ride…

christmas village

As we strolled the path together through the winter wonderland, we sampled sugarplums and chestnuts roasted on…yes, much to my delight, an open fire, that smelled deliciously just the way burning wood should on a cold winter’s day…

Winter, 2015…

This Christmas, our family answered the call to “come away from the crush and the crowds, to come away to a space of stillness to be ready for the coming of the Lord.” Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift (Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2013), 210. In packing up Christmas and stealing away to a remote, snow-blanketed cabin in the woods, we made my Little House on the Prairie dream a reality…

It was just the thing.

Nestled creek-side beneath snow-capped pines, we relished the days in our picturesque wood-stoved log cabin, stringing cranberries and popcorn for our tree, reading by the fire and watching Christmas movies, cuddled up close. We snowshoed and ATV’d through a hushed ghost town, pulling the kids on a sled, flakes fluttering noiselessly, magically, all around.

christmas log cabin

 

Perfection.

Time together, it’s a treasure; one we must stage and shore up with voracious intentionality. For our souls’ sake…One morning, basking in the virgin sunlight under a toasty couch throw with my firstborn nearby, I wrote this in my journal:

“Beauty. Majesty. Glory—right out this idyllic cabin window. Yesterday’s sun-struck snow blowing, glistening glory. His glory. Like a Currier and Ives postcard, but before my very eyes—my wearied eyes and soul needing this like oxygen; this quiet Christmas retreat from the rush, to behold His glory and hold each other close. Breathe. This gift–this is living.”

…I’m praying we’ll be daily about the business of unwrapping the gifts this wondrous season affords, memory-making, space-making through the chill, for the Divine’s kindling, heart-warming work in us…Wintertime blessings!

6 thoughts on “The Wonder in Winter: Reflections

  1. Oh my gosh!! That cabin looks amazing!!!! I am so glad that you went! Now you need to take the kids out of school to ski with me!! My only stubborn act: I refuse to ski on a weekend. Love you friend! You are so beautiful inside and out! Be confident and rest in the magnificent love of your Creator. Always.
    Happy New Year! We are back in town.
    AMY Mc

    1. Love YOU, my sweet, spunky friend! Getting out in God’s creation in all seasons is a joy and a blessing and an absolute must…glad we share the affinity!!

  2. LOVE this!! I feel exactly the same way!! You will need to let me know where you found the cute cabin! Love the idea of doing this for Christmas!! What a precious memory!

    1. Hi, faithful friend! The seasons are such a gift from God, aren’t they ?!?!? It was such a special Christmas retreat– I heartily recommend it !! Xoxo

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