Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wintery Theology

    We got about 2 feet of snow here in Traverse City last night.  The view from my window this morning was beautiful.


But the beauty of winter is a mixed blessing. While the snow hangs delightfully on the trees, and my boys made a 6-foot-tall snowball, and snowmobilers are out in force, there is downside. Thousands are without power, a lot of people ended up in the ditch, and the city declared a State of Emergency.
 
In my own yard I see this tension between beauty and pain. The branches on the apple tree hang to the ground like a wintery willow, but some of those branches will break, and I will not get apples next fall.  My dog loved playing in the snow - but my dogwoods were smashed to the ground by the weight of the storm.

     Winter is one of those seasons that highlights the tension between the pain embedded in a fallen creation and the beauty that still lingers from God's original design.  Winter has moments that remind us what this world could have been like if it had not fallen: a world where the beauty of snow does not carry with it the danger of death and destruction; a world in which happiness and awe do not have to be tempered by the sobering reality of death and destruction. While we enjoy the displays of God's creativity and power, in the background we hear the groaning of a creation waiting for redemption. (Or was that my boys when I told them it was time to shovel?)

  In Game of Thrones, Eddard Stark keeps warning people: "Winter is coming."  For us, winter is already here.  There is a season in which living things die, killed by that which is simultaneously beautiful, stark, glorious and dark. We live in a world inhabited by a lot of things that go bump in the night, that crouch just around the corner waiting to do us in.  If we are not careful, our very souls become wintery, frozen and blustery, refusing to see the beauty around us as we slide into the ditches that rob us of life.

    But Spring is on the way. New life is just around the corner.  The winter of our discontent does not have to turn into a life of disillusionment.  Even on the coldest, most blustery days, God embeds his beautiful, broken world with reminders that He is not limited by the ravaging effect that our freely chosen sin has had on our existence.  Even as I type this, I know that underneath the snow in my front yard hyacinths have already broken through, ready for the warmth and life of spring.
 
   The world may be temporarily broken - it is still wintery - but it is still His.  And He is pretty good at putting things right.

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