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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Forget About Winter?

Happy Birthday week, Nils (:

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest,

cold and heat, summer and winter,

day and night, shall not cease.”

Genesis 8:22

Two of my sons—the two whose 24th birthdays are on the horizon, but who are not twins—live far from Minnesota, in places where it’s always summer. (A third son lives far away as well, but in a place that experiences all four seasons.) Lately I’ve been wondering what it would be like, in the words of my third-born who recently moved to California, to forget about winter. Realizing, even as I imagine this, that as much as I lament the arduous stretch of bitter chill which arrives in late fall and clings tenaciously into much of spring—I actually NEED my seasons. I need their rhythms.

Am I crazy to think this?

Maybe it’s the fact of (going on) 55 years in a midwestern climate and my body by now has a set of expectations. My senses are set to a particular experience—a wholistic story of life, death, and resurrection—repeated each year in my very skin. And maybe it’s also the fact that God has created these rhythms.

I realize there are plenty of God’s people living in places where seasons are not as distinct as our good old Minnesota. And yet imbedded in the God-ordained pattern of a 7-day week, and repeated in the seedtime and harvest of the calendar year, are brilliant reminders of the story we live.

My current season of life, not related to weather, needs rhythm. (I recall writing about this very topic a year ago, while struggling to find my stride.) My work is a hodgepodge; as are my relationships. Old friends and new ones. Young adult offspring, aging parents, my dear little grands. Writing. Church roles. Teaching and speaking. No two days in my weekly schedule look alike. For me to be fully present, wholeheartedly engaged—for me to be sane—I most certainly need some kind of rhythm.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,

to sing praises to your name, O Most High;

to declare your steadfast love in the morning,

and your faithfulness by night.

Psalm 92:1-2

Yes. This is it, isn’t it? Mornings to declare God’s steadfast love. His hesed, covenant love. This anchors my soul and reminds me of Who I follow.

God, I trust you…

Jesus, I ask you to do for me what I can’t do for myself…all that is good and holy…

Holy Spirit, I give you full access…I receive your counsel…teach me to listen…increase my love.

At night, in my bed, before I sleep, I recount the ways He is always faithful. Acknowledging daily manna, daily bread. I give thanks.

Bookends…morning and evening…love and faithfulness…sacred rhythm.

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:2-3)

This weekly rhythm of work and rest is something I’m learning, too. Sabbath.

While much of Minnesota has moved past prime fall color, the particular trees surrounding our wooded lakeside are at their peak. The landscape in every direction has been breathtakingly brilliant, and for several days I’ve been moving from one view to the next, audibly thanking my Creator God. As days grow shorter my body prepares for the dark cold days of winter. But I also remember the glorious beauty of sun and snow. And the breathtaking miracle of birth at Christmas. Light and life comes in the midst of our shortest days.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:14-15)

In a season of hodgepodge, my soul needs rhythm. Morning prayer, evening thanks, Sunday Sabbath. The embodied story of spring, summer, fall and winter. Seasons, days, and years.

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