January is a notoriously hard month for me. Christmas is my favorite time of the year so I try to start listening to Christmas music and decking the halls sometime in early October. It appears the vast majority of the population at large finds this to be annoying and overly exuberant, but, I mean… have you met me?
Anyway, the weeks following a three month Christmas-palooza can be a shock to my senses. No more festive music, no more twinkly lights, no more special parties or sugar coated pecans (omg- can we focus?) The shopping is over, we’ve had twelve birthday parties for Jesus and we are all one double-iced-extra-sprinkled-home-made-christmas-cookie away from a diabetic coma.
And then everything comes to a screeching halt.
As does my serotonin, apparently.
Last week I googled “WHAT IS THE POINT OF WINTER?” because I’m having trouble finding positive things about the month of January. (Ok. February too- but at least we get Valentine's candy.) It’s cold and quiet and still and therefore super hard to navigate emotionally. GOD ARE YOU MAD AT US?
But then I stumbled upon a nature website and found some interesting things. You may already know all of this if you’re the plant-ish type. Planting and growing sort of fall under the same category as cooking for me so you can imagine how it usually goes down.
Here’s the gist of what I read:
-All summer, with the long hours of sunlight and a good supply of liquid water, plants are busy making and storing food, and growing.
-All deciduous trees and plants (those that lose their leaves in the Fall) will go dormant in winter order to conserve energy.
-As plants grow, they shed older leaves and grow new ones. This is important because the leaves become damaged over time by insects, disease and weather.
-When winter comes, the woody parts of trees and shrubs can survive the cold. The above ground parts of herbaceous plants (leaves, stalks) will die off, but underground parts (roots, bulbs) will remain alive. In the winter, plants rest and live off stored food until spring.
That last sentence really stood out to me.
In the winter, plants rest and live off stored food until spring.
I had the thought that if God mimics in nature what He’s doing in us, maybe that’s what winter should look like for me, too.
I’m not good at being still. I mean, I’m amazing at sleeping or napping (I think it’s my spiritual gift) but when I’m awake, I’m going. I want to be moving, accomplishing, planning, ect. And that’s not great.
I want to learn to be content in the stillness.
I want to celebrate the quiet seasons as much as I do the sparkly ones.
Maybe if I remember that the cold and the stillness is for a purpose—for good—then I can rest in it. I'm going to remind myself over and over that I've been given everything I need to last the winter months.
I went to the nursery and bought a few things to remind me of all of this in the coming weeks. None of the plants are flashy or have colorful blooms. But they are alive. Quietly, purposefully alive.
And that’s what I want this January to be for me.
There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven—
A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to [a]tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to keep silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
What profit is there for the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the task which God has given to the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.
He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time.
He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God].