Winter’s Gift – Jeremy Austill
Winter’s Gift

I don’t claim a green thumb. My dad was a gardener by hobby. His flower beds were always lush, his garden bursting with produce and his property adorned with precisely placed trees and plants which complimented one another wonderfully. His home, the appearance of an oasis. Maybe it is by genetics or by influence, but I have an appreciation for beautiful vegetation. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not an active “gardener”. However, I was fortunate to inherit a couple of trees around my home which have the most beautiful blooms as the weather shifts into Spring.

One of my favorite happenings all year is when those trees allow the early warmth, which indicates Winter is fading, to pull from their branches vibrant hues. As those blooms slowly open, my soul is blessed. Nature speaks of the wonder of God if we happen to have ears to hear. Those protruding colors give evidence that what looked dead, always had life within. Life which endured the harsh cold of winter. The appearance of barrenness could not override what is true about the tree, it lives. The blandness, in uniformity with gray skies, only hid for a season, the beauty within the nature of the tree.

As I have gotten older, I have developed a degree of romanticism toward the frigid months on the calendar. The earth, seemingly unproductive…lacking its normal sense of usefulness…the earth, resting…waiting. As I drive my kids to school each morning, bundled in layers to buffet us against the north wind, I am conscientious to not complain about the temperature or wish for a different season. Instead, for my children to hear, I give thanks for winter and its necessity in the process of beauty and fruitfulness. Winter is not a curse, it is a gift. Winter is not the negative on the calendar, it is the season which allows for becoming. Winter has a beauty all its own, and we would do well to receive it as such rather than wish it away.

Often the natural and supernatural mirror one another. I have endured numerous winters of the soul. Seasons in which others could not see what was in me…seasons in which I knew possibility was inside me but fruit was not visible…seasons in which life seemed harsh, dull and colorless, but I sensed it was not forever…seasons in which I held aspirations internally yet was planted in the soil called waiting…seasons in which I wondered if I would bloom again…

If you didn’t hear it before, hear it now. As you read allow these words to speak to your soul. Winter does not define you, it develops you. The appearance of barrenness is the temporary lesser truth, subservient to what lies within, life. Your day of bloom is coming, and hopefully many will be there to capture it and have their soul blessed by the beauty of your life.

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