~ by Sr. Mary Theresa Rozga
As the seasons change about us, as manifestations of one season appear and fade into the next season, so, too, does our interior life go through a cycle of seasons. We rejoice in the vibrancy and freshness of spring, the warmth of summer, and the awesome color and crispness of autumn. And, when it comes to the winter in our life, we shut ourselves away. We hope that by closing all things off we can remain secure and winter will soon pass and we can again revile in spring. But, the winter in our life cannot be avoided and it should not be dreaded. Winter, in all its glory, should be lived.
I will agree that winter is not the easiest season. Each of us has probably experienced the slowness and coldness of winter. We wonder and wait pondering how long it will last. And, the season continues. Do not let anyone fool you that a winter of life is over in a day. The breaking up of winter is a gradual process.
How then do we survive the winter in life? We do it by accepting its apparent harshness and living in its beauty – not the other way around! Do not be afraid of winter – accept its call to newness.
As winter settles on the earth, the greenness of life slowly fades away. Trees in full bloom two months ago are now barren. The world seems empty – void of any life. We feel the same way during the winter of our life. The emptiness stretches on in our life and gone are the life supports to which we so foolishly clung. There appears to be no life, nothing in which to hope. Yet, if we profess to have a belief in God, we are called to see the Lord present in this emptiness.
Why do you think Christmas comes at the beginning of winter for us? Through the cold, emptiness, and struggle of winter we must cling to the belief that God is with us – Emmanuel. We must believe that God is present and it is God sharing in the winter of our life that gives us the hope to continue. At the darkest and coldest time of the year, the light and warmth of Christ is present. Whenever winter comes to us and in whatever season of the year, the joy, peace and hope of Christmas – that God is truly with us, loving us – must be present!
As funny as it may seem it is usually only when we are empty, totally desolate and without any means for supporting life, that we allow God to come into our life. It is as if we have to become empty and get rid of all that clutters our world so that God can have the necessary room. Our world is barren; now there is no barrier to hold God back. We let go of our own plans and dreams realizing that now was not God’s time. Now God’s plans and dreams can come to fulfillment in us!
Winter is an emptiness waiting to be filled by God. We need to allow ourselves to become empty. We must be encouraged to recognize and accept the void in our lives and then invite (and allow) God to fill it. God is eagerly awaiting to do so.
The winter of our life has a giftedness and beauty different from the other seasons. We need to enter willingly into the barrenness and cold and believe that God is at work within us. Yes, winter, even the winter of our life, can be a glorious time.