I love the cold and the snow.
Is it my Scandinavian roots or my childhood memories of sledding down the hill of our front lawn on my mother’s back? Or maybe it’s the love of change and difference; no San Diego with 365 days of sun and blue sky for me.
Or maybe it’s the turning inward that comes with cold and darkness. It seems to make self-reflection (a needed spiritual discipline) easier; and it brings out in us a longing as we yearn for the return of light and warmth, and that experience of longing is also central to a life of faith.
We long for the life God intends for us and for God’s world. We long for peace and justice. We long for all to have food and love and companionship and a place to live and a place to work that brings meaning and enough for living.
Christina Rossetti describes the yearning for spring this way:
I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing, robin, sing;
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.
Yearning for spring is a far cry from yearning for justice, but they both take us to a deep place where we can dream and imagine something different.
Isn’t that what God’s reign breaking in is about? Enabling us to imagine and see a new and different season – a godly rather than human reality?
Yesterday I saw a round of robins hopping on the sidewalk outside my office. What are they doing on this cold, blustery day when the ground is too hard for worms, I thought. But isn’t that how it happens, just when we think we cannot abide another day of winter, signs of spring break in with their promise that winter is not eternal.
And so it is in a life of faith just when we are in doubt of this resurrected life Jesus talks about - dubious about the reign of God breaking into this world that we humans seem to run not very well, signs of God’s reign break in, surprising us and reminding us that there is life and hope that come from beyond and that God insists will have the last word.