Winter Skies

It could be said that the earth is the body of Nature while the sky is her face. The sky is where she puts her moods on display and they are ever- changing, from minute- to- minute, day- to- day, and season- to- season. Winter, I feel, is the moodiest of all seasons and I tend to absorb those moods as my own. There can be endless stretches of  gloomy clouds and fog that require extra motivation to leave the warm comfort of my home or to even roll out of bed in the morning.

jan-22-norway-beach4

Then, the clouds finally drift away and the brilliant blue sky appears. On days like this, household chores are put on hold in order to savor every last minute of sweet sunshine. The cool air and sunny days are energizing and it is almost impossible not to match Nature’s cheerful mood.

The bare white branches of winter look especially striking against a clear, bright blue sky. Without leaves, the intricate shape and form of trees are on display and the warm sunshine coaxes me to stop and admire.

jan-15-3

Then there are the rare, breathtaking sunsets that just stop me in my tracks. As I stand there in amazement, I imagine God has lifted a veil from over the sky so that, just for a moment, his glory shines through to his children on earth. It is an experience that both humbles and heartens me.

jan-17-9

When the sun fades away on a clear night, we do not have to live in complete darkness. The moon and stars emerge, and they are beautiful reminders that we are not alone. They provide us light, comfort, and wonder until the sun once again brightens the world.

jan-10-6

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons, and days, and years. 15 Let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 Then God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. Then God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

Genesis 1:14-19

Snow

I have a love- hate relationship with snow. Snow makes driving slow and stressful, it creates the chore of shoveling, it makes you cold and wet if you don’t dress properly, and it just makes life a bit harder overall. With that said, I really do love snow. I love watching large snowflakes leisurely make their way down to the earth just as much as I love watching millions of smaller snowflakes swirling violently in a storm. I love watching the winter sun shine on freshly fallen snow, creating a field of crushed, dazzling diamonds against a bright blue sky. What I love most, though, is a clear night, when the full moon reflects off the snow and I am able to see almost perfectly without the aid of a light. My own backyard becomes a magical otherworldly landscape. All is quiet; it is just me and the trees and the snow, with the moon lighting the way.

dec-27-1

In all my life I have never seen anything that embodies the word “pure” more than a blanket of freshly fallen snow. The power of a blizzard, the gorgeous glistening snow in the sunshine, and the peace and wonder of experiencing snow on a moonlit night all point to the majesty of God. His creative and unique gifts to us add beautiful layers and dimensions to life.  Being able to observe our world through the change of seasons adds so much richness and excitement to my life and gives me a greater appreciation of God’s masterful craftsmanship.

dec-26-8

“…Though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;…”

Isaiah 1:18

jan-3-1

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

 

 

The Meeting Place

In the Garden of Eden, God created an idyllic place for mankind to live. God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in this exquisite garden of paradise. What perfection that must have been- to have such an intimate relationship with God in a place exhibiting the purest form of beauty.

Living in Eden is no longer an option for us, but we are still drawn to beautiful and peaceful places in nature. I always feel closest to God when I am outside, away from buildings and pavement. After all, humans built churches, but God built all of nature. I would rather be in His house.*

God created this earth not only to provide us with resources for food and housing, but He also made places to rest and to play and to experience beauty and awe. Is there a better place to experience God’s majesty than on a mountaintop; or to appreciate God’s gift of peace than beside the still waters of a lake; or to wonder at God’s creativity than spotting a wild animal in its natural habitat?

There is more luring us to the outdoors than just pretty scenery and thrills of adventure. The gentle and delicate way light filters through the green leaves of a forest, and the thundering crash of waves against a rocky shore all hint there is something bigger, something more meaningful and powerful in our midst.

As we leave our homes and daily routine behind and step into these quiet and awe- inspiring places, we can hear whispers of Eden echoing in our souls. Perhaps nature has always meant to be the meeting place of God and man. Eden’s whispers ripple through the ages and beckon us back to those places God has created for us, keeping us searching for what was lost and what we know will come again.

ridge-aug-6-2

Psalm 96: 11-13

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;

    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.

12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;

    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,

    he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness

    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

 

*I just want to clarify: I am an advocate of attending church services with other believers. My point is that church buildings offer no special powers or direct avenues to God.