Is it too early to start talking about how much I’m looking forward to spring? This is my first time spending the winter outside of the tiny area of Ohio with which I’m completely familiar. The area is probably similar in a lot of ways to the winter here in central Iowa. I know that throughout March, the snow can come down so thick, heavy, and fast that a person is left wondering why the weather forecast was so wrong. That happens in Ohio. I know that the roads can become coated with a sheet of pure, slick, unrelenting ice in mid-April. That certainly happens in Ohio. And I know that even in early May, a winter storm can roll in with such severity that it closes schools, because that has happened in Ohio… and weirdly, that happens often.
So I ask this again, with an answer in mind: is it too early to start talking about spring? And, the answer is NO! Absolutely not! Spring is coming. We are not going to jinx it by talking about spring now in early March. Time keeps moving! Look to the promise of the future!
As of the week that this will be published, this area is getting out of a record-breaking stretch of unbelievable cold. How many people were not able to start their cars because of this crazy cold? How many families had no choice but to keep their children indoors after fresh snow because the high temperature for the day was ten-degrees below zero? How many times did you step outside to grab the mail, and the very air you breathed felt like it was freezing the blood in the veins of your nostrils? Yup, we have really had some winter, and we can definitely start to talk about spring.
Spring is the answer of good news to the winter of 2020/2021. We always need to hear the good news. It’s not that the winter in itself is necessarily bad. I happen to have a great appreciation for the ability to go sledding, snowmobiling, and ice fishing, and those only come in the winter. The thing is, it’s in the harshness of winter that we need to be reminded of the good news of spring. We get worn down and worn out as winter drags on. But, the cold and darkness of winter doesn’t last forever! Spring comes soon, and it comes with all of the light and warmth that the promise of spring brings year after year.
Why does the church keep preaching the promise of new life in Christ throughout the entire year? Why not just keep this topic around the Easter season and teach other stuff throughout the rest of the year? It’s simple: because this is part of the good news that Jesus came to earth to tell us. We get worn down and worn out with the harshness of the world, and we need to hear that reminder. The need to hear about spring in the winter is like a micro-version of the need that every human heart has to experience new life in Christ. The message of the promise is here for us.
The promise of new life in Christ is much like the fresh start that spring brings after a long winter. With Christ, humanity is given a new life of grace, gratitude, and purpose. The new life in Christ gives us all our daily bread, and in that daily bread our spiritual side is fed to make us whole. The new life in Christ gives us a spirit of forgiveness toward others, and sets us on a path to reconcile with people we would otherwise disagree with. The new life in Christ opens our eyes to the brilliant and warm light of God’s love for all of humanity. It’s a reality that has always been there, right in front of us the whole time! In the winter of life, we can bask in the good news of a spring thanks to Christ.
It’s not too early to start talking about spring. The winter was hard and cold, so I think a reminder about life returning to nature is good to hear. And, it’s certainly always a good time to talk about the greater new life, the one that is received from Christ.