A few years ago in the midst of many, many snowstorms in a row in the Dakotas, I received a cartoon which showed a group of persons buried over their heads with snow, only their hands were showing, raised up and voting “yes” to the caption, “OK, show of hands…who’s tired of snow?”
I am starting to feel like that cartoon. Last week’s snowstorm and ice storm provided respite from a busy schedule, but it has become tiresome already. It was good to get out yesterday and preach in a local church, and it even feels good to be back at work in my office in the Conference Center today. Now there are predictions of yet another snowstorm heading our way. None of this is nearing Dakotas-like levels of snow, and yet I find myself voting and saying, “Yes, I am tired of winter.”
Since we are still in the season of Epiphany, maybe it is appropriate to sing my favorite Epiphany hymn titled, “In the Bleak Mid-Winter.” That hymn contains these descriptive words:
In the bleak mid-winter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter long ago.
Sound familiar? The hymn continues to celebrate the coming of Christ, saying
Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak mid-winter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
The hymn’s final verse really captures the essence of faithfulness and humility through the winter times of our lives:
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him, give him my heart.
During the winter times of our lives, during the winter times of our faith journey, even when it seems that the “winter blahs” have captured us, we are reminded to give to the Lord the only gift which really matters: Our hearts.
May God bless you during this bleak mid-winter, may God sustain you through any winter times of your faith, and may God remind you that you have been given the greatest gift of Christ – and the only true response is to give him your heart. Amen.