This morning it snowed in Chicago.
I was walking to church. The snowflakes stuck silently to my plaid skirt and grey pea coat. Salt crunched under my boots and the fierce wind twisted my long, straight hair into a massive blond tumbleweed. The dampness of the air crept through my cotton tights and up the sleeves of my coat making me shiver.
I love winter. It’s beautiful. Harsh. Romantic. Inspiring. Cruel. Depressing. Wonderful. Cold.
Each year I’m overjoyed by the first snowfall. But somewhere as the coldest depths of January turn to icy February I begin to long for springtime – for colors, scents, warmth. With each step on the frozen concrete, as my nose and cheeks grow numb and I curl my fingers tightly into fists inside my mittens, I grow more and more impatient for the life that will again grow when spring comes.
Often life feels like winter. We enter seasons where the world seems cold, uninviting. Things are bleak, depressing, and harsh. The roads are slippery with ice and the unrelenting winds whip around us. We long for the beauty, warmth, and life that spring will surely bring.
But as we continue to plod down the cold street, sometimes walking straight into strong winds and icy snowfall, we find an open door, a warm haven inviting us inside. Unlike the locked doors behind bolted gates lining LaSalle Boulevard that I pass on my walk to church, there is one door that is always open to us. God softly, gently call us to himself. He invites us in, and we leave our baggage, soaked through with snow, by the door and come. He draws us into his presence, allowing us to sit with him while we warm ourselves by the fireplace of his love.
The harsh winds still rage outside and the icy snow continues to come down relentlessly. But we are warm. Safe. Near to God, resting in his presence.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
[Soli deo gloria]