|I took this photo at home in December 2010.|
Winter will technically be over in less than a week, but it's still cold here -- at least when it's the beginning of the day, the end of the day, or the wind is blowing. I want to make the effort to enjoy and live in the present more. Part of being in the present is appreciating the current season rather than wanting to be in the next one already. Winter actually felt shorter to me this time around. . . .
Here is what inspired me to write about the symbolism I see in winter: One morning in December, I think the week before Christmas, I drove our minivan out of the parking spot to leave our apartment complex. It was time for First Girl to go to school. I went almost to the first turn, and then pulled over to the side and stopped. Since I had not parked in our covered spot, there was frost, and I had to scrape more of it off the van's windows. I told the girls that I needed to see the road and everything well so that I could be a safe driver, and that the sunshine might help warm the car and melt the frost a tiny bit faster. I thought, "The sun melts frost, and the Son melts spiritual frost." My heart often feels like it should be warmer. I don't want to be hard-hearted or prideful, but sometimes I am. I know that when we repent, partaking of the sacrament each week cleanses us and removes the darkness. I want more light and I want to be more like Him, the Creator and the light of the world.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said in a BYU devotional:
Ultimate wisdom enables us to see Jesus as the Light of the World, but, further, we also come to realize that it is by his light that we are to see everything else! The gospel’s bright and illuminating light thereby helps us see God, ourselves, others, the world, and the universe more correctly and more deeply.That day in December was before I knew much about the movie Frozen, which we still haven't seen but plan to, and the various interpretations adults have had about it. So, the Spirit was teaching me. I didn't get the idea from anyone else, they just know, too, what the Savior can do. "There is a redeemer who can melt our frozen hearts," Stephen Sizer wrote in his article about Frozen. The pure love of Christ can do a lot.
Then on March 1st something else touched me. We were at our eight-year-old neighbor boy's baptism. It had been a difficult morning getting the kids ready without my husband, and when we arrived the priesthood holder was baptizing the boy. We barely missed seeing it. But even though my kids weren't behaving during the talks, I am glad I was there. Sister Christensen gave a great talk (I'd like to read the whole thing) about the gift of the Holy Ghost. She mentioned that when we feel darkness and coldness in our lives we can pray for the Holy Ghost to comfort us. "Darkness and coldness" stood out to me. Sometimes I don't look to the light (by earnestly praying to my Heavenly Father), or I have negative, even unkind "icy" thoughts that I shouldn't let stay for as long as I do. I hope my little family sees warmth and light in me, like I see in them when I look at their faces.
I believe winter denotes there is a God, because all of nature does. In the Book of Mormon, Alma 30:43-44 says:
And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words.(I'm sorry if I'm not connecting these thoughts well. I'm publishing the post anyway.)
But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
When it was the middle of winter, we had snow that stayed on the ground. Don't you love the snow when it's new, pure white, and slightly sparkly? It reminded me that because of Jesus Christ, "though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow." Each winter I get to see how white that really is.
I also absolutely love the song Every Season by Nichole Nordeman. I first heard it on this Kenneth Cope album. Nichole wrote:
Every evening sky, an invitation
To trace the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice you in children's games
In those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer
And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice you when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and what's to come
You are autumn
And everything in time and under Heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
And still I notice you when branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, you open doors for life to enter
You are winter
And everything that's new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
And what was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with you and how you make me new
With every season's change
And so it will be as you are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring