Wednesday, December 21, 2016


December 21, 2016

Here in Sinclairville, we've plowed and shoveled snow for the past couple weeks, but the almanac tells us that winter begins today, the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. "As the days get longer, the cold gets stronger," the old adage reminds us. It doesn't make sense, but these timeless adages often tell us more about life than does scientific observation. For example, as far as I know, there's no scientific test or measurement that tells us whether someone is a jerk or a saint; it takes human observation and experience.

Meteorologically, tomorrow is the first day of winter; for those of us living here in Sinclairville, it's been with us awhile. If the patterns hold, we'll get a cold spell again in January, followed by a thaw later in the month. Then we settle in for February and look for the faint signs of spring in March, the month of mud and "anything can happen," but it's not till the end of April that we can start to think about breaking out our summer duds.

There is a progression to the seasons here that don't happen in Florida, Arizona, or California. Those who have emigrated to warmer climes don't seem to miss the change of seasons, but I like it here. The next couple days are relatively unscheduled; it looks like it's time to break out the cross-country skis or snowshoes unless the thermometer starts to climb towards the 40s, in which case, it will be time to break out the bike and sidecar.

The climate-change theorists keep telling us the sky is falling, the seas are rising, and catastrophe is imminent. Who knows? They could be right. If geologists and their ilk are right, the earth has gone through some pretty catastrophic changes before. There's no reason to believe it can't happen again. And there's no reason to believe we can change the inevitable. We can't stop continental drift, the movement of tectonic plates, or any of the other internal workings of this marvelous planet we call home. But one thing is sure, at least it is for people in the Jewish/Christian tradition. After the Great Flood, God promised that there would always be seedtime and harvest. Sometimes they will be more bountiful than others, but they will always come. There is an order to life that is stable and even somewhat predictable. We are fortunate it is so, otherwise life would be too chaotic to even survive, let alone prosper.

I am grateful tonight for the faithfulness of God demonstrated in the seasons, and for his sense of surprise that although we can determine to the day when winter officially comes, there is no predicting when it actually arrives.

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