When my family and I lived further south, we tended to get long summers with short spring and falls, and even shorter winters. But the great thing about living in here in eastern Tennessee is that we pretty much get to enjoy four full seasons. Each in its own way is a blessing.
Spring brings an explosion of color and smells and sounds as life springs forth. Summer allows for long full days of outdoor activity. The fall sees a display of deciduous foliage all but virtually unparalleled in other latitudes. I have learned to enjoy the beauty of each of these seasons in their time.
But more and more these days, I find that my appreciating the splendor that only winter can provide. Few things are as breathtaking as what Clement Moore described as the light of the “moon on the breast of the new fallen snow”, giving a “lustre of mid-day to objects below”.
Or that feeling of majesty captured so well in the movie A Christmas Story. when little Ralphie opens his window on Christmas morning and beholds the beauty of a fresh snowfall that has wondrously blanketed everything in sight.
Such sights are only enhanced by the accompanying silence that snow so often brings. As a buffeting agent, snow tends to quite nature all on its own. But it also usually limits the amount of traffic and other human activity that otherwise normally punctuates the average day. Whenever this happens, one typically finds that the visual grandeur of fresh snow is further enriched.
My wife and I discussed these and many other blessings of the season as we went “walking in a winter wonderland” this past week.
But that walk provided me one other insight into what a winter snowfall provides. That is the ability to see much further and deeper than at any other time of the year. Think about it. As beautiful as they are, the blossoms of spring and the leaf cover of summer nonetheless tend to obscure the view. And even in the fall, when the leaves drop, as one peers through the woods, the view is often blurred by a lack of contrast.
But when the winter applies a fresh layer of snow, one begins to see through the trees to what lies beyond. As we walked along, I glanced into the woods in every direction. Suddenly, I could see the roof tops of numerous houses and barns as well as yards and pastures, all of which were otherwise obscured throughout the rest of the year.
I found myself able to get a far better lay of the land, as it were. I could see hills and valleys and make out all sorts of roads and other landmarks, the existence of none of which I had heretofore known about. And in that moment, I had a further insight.
Perhaps life itself is much the same. Perhaps life has its seasons, all of which are a full of blessings in their own right. In the spring of life, we come to be. Life is fresh and so much is new with each passing day. In summer, we come of age. We mature and grow tall and strong. Life is full with activity and progress. In the fall of life, we slow down a bit as the intensity of life gives way to a fuller appreciation of the beauty if life.
But the winter of life brings a set of blessings all its own. It provides us with insights into things we never really saw before, and gives us some solitude to reflect on and appreciate these things.
The Book of Proverbs (chapter 20, verse 29, KJV) tells us that “the glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.” The Amplified Bible translates this verse this way: “The glory of young men is their [physical] strength, and the honor of aged men is their gray head [representing wisdom and experience].”
There were seasons when I was a young man. Those were the spring and summer of my life. During that time, I prided myself on my strengths and abilities. But those seasons have now given way to other ones, to fall already, and soon, to winter. And yet, I am not troubled by this. Rather, I find myself thoroughly enjoying the current season, even as I look forward to the one soon to dawn.
For even now, I find that I am better able to appreciate the beauty of life in ways I was once far too busy to value. Even more importantly, I find that I am beginning to see things as I have never really seen them before. The depth and breadth of that sight is refreshing, as I find myself better able to grasp and make sense of the world in which I live.
For all these things, I thank God more and more each day for His blessings upon me.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/proverbs/20-29.htm.