Hope can banish the winter blues

 30 January 2021 |

Winter is a harsh season. The darkness and the cold, the rain and the snow. But nature is already making plans for spring and looking out my window, I see green shoots and snowdrops already. In the middle of winter, spring is on its way. 

And in Christian terms, the road to Easter has already begun. The Bible readings for this time of the year have begunpointing to the Cross. The aim of the readings is not to push Jesus ever nearer to his moment of crucifixion, but slowly, reflectively, to give today’s Christians a chance to ponder what the Cross might mean for them and the world. Soon, the period of Lent will formalise that reflection, but for now, there are just gentle hints and suggestions that entice us to think.

During lockdown many are alone and have too much time on their hands, others with home teaching and working from home, have too little time. Some are stressed by loneliness and isolation; others are stressed because they don’t know what to do with the children. 

We are all grieving for the things we have lost, and like the grieving of a death, we too have to cope with denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and only eventually, acceptance.Recent thinking has added an extra stage: acceptance doesn’t happen till we have made sense of what we have lost. And that’s what we need to start doing now. And the way Christians do that is to try to find Hope even in the Cross and the death of Jesus. 

The world doesn’t stop in winter – it is always moving even though we can’t see it. Nature continues through winter and many plants use the dark and cold to regenerate in new growth for the spring. If we open our senses to the world, we can sense the new beginnings even in the heart of this pandemic. If it feels like God has packed up and gone on holiday, God hasn’t. God is waiting for us to notice what God is doing…