When you hear or see the word ‘Winter’, what thoughts or feelings or images arise in your mind? Is it a season you enjoy or is it one you endure?
Whatever your views about winter are, it is a season that comes round each year!
The season of Winter officially starts, from an astronomical viewpoint, with the Winter Solstice on December 21st. It is the shortest day of the year and the one with the fewest hours of sunlight. However after we have reached it, the days begin to lengthen.
In a recent email Fiona Lynne Koefoed-Jespersen considered 5 invitations that Winter can offer:
Winter invites me to rest in a world that celebrates overworking and constant productivity.
Winter invites me to trust in the provision of the natural world and recognise my deep interconnection with it.
Winter invites me to pay attention to how I really am and tenderly take steps to mend that which needs mending.
Winter invites me to hear again the stories of ourselves and find my meaning and belonging in them.
And Winter invites me to befriend darkness, both external and internal – as a place of encounter with the Divine in ways which both disturb and comfort.
Read these statements again slowly and ponder on the one that resonates with you most for today. Share your thoughts and feelings with God and listen for his perspective on them.
When I worked in a school for children with autism we would often, make a booklet called The Emergency Toolkit for individual children. This was a collaborative task between the child, his/her parents and staff working with the child. It contained activities of the child’s choice that were helpful when he/she was distressed or upset.
The concept is applicable to us as adults! So I invite you to,
- Think about activities and pastimes, which you find life-giving and replenishing.
- Keep a list of them in a readily accessible place, so you can draw on them, on days when the season of winter seems challenging, for whatever reason.
Take a moment or two to pray for anyone you know who finds the season of winter a challenge. Are there any practical steps you can take to bring them hope, peace, joy and love, this Advent.
James 4:8 encourages us to, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
In the busyness of the Christmas season, I invite you to step out of the hurry and haste of life for 10 minutes. Take time to stop, pause, and to draw close to God, as you listen to one of these short meditations:
The Christmas Cake
The Christmas Tree