It is a typical, late-fall day. It’s what Winnie the Pooh would call a “Blustery Day”, and as I opened the door for the dog to “blow” in from outside, I got to thinking about the seasons. Now I must admit, winter isn’t my favorite season. In fact, it is pretty much at the bottom of the list, and since autumn leads into winter, it is pretty low on my list of favorites, too. It doesn’t help that I suffer from an element of Season Affect Disorder, and I usually am the most depressed and I feel the worst in the fall and early winter.
These thoughts alone would normally send me spiraling into the depths of the “winter blues” (even though it isn’t even officially winter!); but as I looked up from what I was doing, the bright, colourful lights of the Christmas tree caught my eye (yes, we started decorating for Christmas quite early this year!), and a new thought occurred to me: Right in the middle of the most depressing time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, we have Christmas, a bright, beautiful reminder to a lost and lonely and hurting world that God has not forgotten us, that He loves us. In fact, He loves us so much that Jesus left His home in Heaven to be born of a lowly virgin and laid to rest in a manger. He did this to give to us His indescribable gift of Salvation, healing, freedom, joy, wisdom and peace in troubled times, and in celebration of this greatest of all gifts, we have Christmas.
Now we all know that Jesus wasn’t actually born on December 25. In fact, we really have no idea whatsoever of when Jesus was born; however, God, in His wisdom, allowed for Christians in the northern hemisphere to celebrate Jesus’ birth–Not in the middle of the summer, but in the middle of the most depressing time of year. When the days come to be their shortest, we have a bright and beautiful reminder that God is still in control.
This made me think of the seasons in life that we all pass through. No, unfortunately, it isn’t always “summer” in our lives. We go through valleys, we pass through–and sometimes seem to get stuck in–the dark and troubled times. Yet if we are alert, if we allow God to carry us through, we will see that even amidst the worst of our trouble, He puts little signs that He is there, that our winter will not last forever.
I remember the days leading up to my first oncology appointment after having undergone surgery for cancer. I was petrified that I would have to have chemotherapy, and this thought pushed me into the depths of depression. Right around that time, I received a beautiful wall hanging in the mail from a dear friend, with the words of the Beatitudes worked into the design. That same day, my husband received permission from his boss to take off work so that he could accompany me to oncology. The very next day, I received an encouraging email, helping me to see that God was using this walk through the valley of cancer to help me to know Him more. Then, later that same day, I received a beautiful note of encouragement from a fellow cancer patient. In the darkest part of my cancer walk with God, He sent me encouragement and comfort to remind me that I wasn’t walking the path alone, that He was carrying me through.
It’s late in the fall, and Christmas is just a few short weeks away. Though you may still be passing through those “winters” of life, why not let the bright and beautiful lights and sparkling decorations this Christmas be a reminder to you that you don’t walk this path alone, that, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” (Ps. 23:4-6)
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Blustery Day” mini-series, please click here.)