We had endured a winter that saw 50 inches of snow, when, finally, spring arrived, melting everything in sight. We played on the grass. We rode bikes down the road. We even started the lawnmower. The temperature was approaching 60 degrees.
Then it happened. We awoke one morning, looked out the window, and just stared in disbelief. The landscape was again covered with snow – about half an inch by my estimation.
During winter, we’re
like the resourceful farm kids
who play ball with a pig bladder.
There’s just got to be
something better, right?
I was amused, knowing the midday sun would take care of it. He, though, was distraught. He ran to his room, jumped in his bed, buried his head under his cover, and started crying. This is the same child who, three months earlier, was telling me how much he loved the snow – how living in a colder climate was “so much fun” because he could sled every day. But even he couldn’t take any more of it.
God gave us the seasons for a reason, and my son was learning that the hard way, even if he didn’t understand fully the theological ramification.
It’s no accident that God raised His Son during the time when much of the world is thawing out. Winter and spring serve as a sort of living illustration of our faith, in several ways. For instance:
1. Spring brings life (and so does Christ). During winter, plants are dead or dormant, animals go into hibernation, and the land turns a dull gray. And spring? Plants grow, flowers bloom, animals come out of their “deep sleep,” and God’s rainbow palate of beautiful colors is once again on full display. The world is alive, and we can take our families outside without spending an hour to bundle up. Winter is beautiful and reflects the glory of God, but spring does so in a far richer, more significant sense. Creation, after all, is about life. Spring gives us a powerful parallel and reminder of the life that is enjoyed by those who trust Christ – and the fact that He is not dead, but is risen and alive.
2. Spring brings hope (and so does Christ). I don’t think God wants us to hate everything about winter, and I’m sure He enjoys watching us sled and ski and make snowmen and snow cream. But those days when it’s hovering around zero degrees and we’re shivering and our fingers are hurting as the kids are screaming and we scrape ice off the car window should remind us that we live in a fallen world. It makes us hope and long for something more, something better, something … warmer. There’s good news: Spring is on the way and we have hope. We can hope for it not in the modern-day sense of the word but in the way the New Testament writers (Hebrews 11:1, etc.) used the word “hope” – as something that is certain and definite. It’s the same with Christ. We may live in a fallen world of sin and sorrow, but we know He will return one day and restore all things to the way they should be. We have hope.
3. Spring brings joy (and so does Christ). Winter can be fun for families, but the fun is limited. There’s no warm sunshine, no cool breezes, no green grass, no long sunny days. For kids, there’s no bike rides, no baseball, no swimming, no kite-flying, no dirt-digging, no running through the grass, no playing in the sand, no throwing the ball. Families can’t hike, can’t picnic, can’t grill, can’t take strolls, can’t take nice warm vacations. And during spring? We can do all those things. During winter, we’re like the resourceful farm kids who play ball with a pig bladder. There’s just got to be something better, right? It’s the same with our lives. We pretend that our jobs, our hobbies, the latest TV shows, and the latest fads bring joy, when deep down, we know something isn’t right. As C.S. Lewis said, there’s a God-shaped void that can only be filled by Christ, and only He can only bring true joy. But unlike the fleeting “joy” that spring brings — which will fade away as the year progresses — the joy that Christ gives brings is everlasting.
Michael Foust is an editor and writer who blogs about parenting and fatherhood. He loves his family and also really likes popcorn. Interested in re-posting this in your publication or on your blog for free? Send me a message in the comments section below (the message won’t go public).
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