United Church of Christ

The Long Winter

"It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth; You made both summer and winter." - Psalm 74:17

It was winter in Boston. Seven feet of snow on the ground, and more on the way.

My kids had been home because of illness, vacation, and snow days for 48 of the last 66 days. After many days in a row of staying in and getting on each other's nerves, we decided that was it. We were going to kill each other if we stayed inside one more minute.

We tried to go sledding. We got lost on the way to the sledding hill. When we finally arrived, crabby and exhausted, we only made it halfway up the hill, sinking into snow up to our waists at every step.

And then we started to laugh. And couldn't stop. The sun was shining, our vitamin D levels were surging, and we had snow in every orifice. Laughing seemed the better option.

Why do we have to have winter? Because it makes spring and summer so precious. All that slogging, all that shoveling, all the colds and flu and frost-nipped fingers, sharpen the sweetness of those first crocuses.

In this same way, Death makes Life precious. If we never died—if we were guaranteed to live forever—we would get bored, or dissolute, pretty fast. But because we're only here for a little while, no matter what you believe comes after, death makes life important. 

But wait a second: what if we could love winter, not just because of spring, but for its own sake? What if we could be unafraid of Death, not just because we love Life, but because Death hides gifts in its endings that we might otherwise not realize?

What if we could run right into life's winters, starting out crabby and ending up laughing?

Prayer

God of every season, help us to love the hard seasons for their own sakes, and remind us that laughter is always an option. Amen.

About the Author
Molly Baskette is Senior Minister of the First Church of Berkeley, California, and the author of the best-selling Real Good Church and Standing Naked Before God.

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