We are in the “dead of winter.” Have you ever thought about that idiom in our language? Have you ever thought about the meaning behind it or the origin of it? According to the British website, Bloomsbury-International.com, the meaning of this phrase refers to a time – “the time of year when it is coldest and darkest and the days are the shortest. If something or someone is “dead,” then they are lifeless, silent and completely still. The phrase, “In the dead of winter” means in the middle of the coldest season, much as “in the dead of the night” means in the middle of the quiet, dark night.”
For many of us, winter is a cold, dark and lonely time; but winter is necessary. It is an important season in God’s creation. If there were no winter – if there were no death – it would be difficult to appreciate spring; and therefore, it would be difficult to appreciate life. Winter is necessary; it is a passage. We must pass through winter to get to spring. The only way from autumn to spring is to pass through winter. The four seasons reflect the seasons of life. Spring is the season of birth or new birth. Summer is the season of life. Autumn is the season of dying and winter is the season of death. All four are important, all four are necessary, and all four are certain. While no one looks forward to dying and death with great anticipation and joy, we can look forward to these seasons of life with hope.
There are many benefits of winter. Winter brings the death of annoying insects and also annual plants. Common wheat is an annual plant. Jesus gave an insightful illustration using this plant:
But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:23-24, NKJV).
Without death there is no life. We see this in nature; we also see it in the Word of God. “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31, NKJV). Without Crucifixion Friday, there would be no Resurrection Sunday!
Some of us are facing trials – seasons of pain in our lives. With the hope that comes only through a personal relationship with God through His only Son, Jesus, we can embrace the cold, dark and lonely trials of life. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4, NKJV).
It’s February but hang on, April is coming! It may be hard now, but in Jesus Christ joy is coming. As the Psalmist wrote, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5, NKJV).