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Beauty in the Bleak Seasons of Life

Snow covered bare trees, photo credit: Pat Mingerelli

Despite the cold, there is much beauty in winter

[Originally published as God and the Winters in Our Lives]

(This is the second in three part series on Winter. View part one here and part two here)

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What is There to like About Winter?

Some may think I’m odd for enjoying winter. I get energized outside, and when the frozen weather comes that doesn’t change. The cold air feels good on my face.

As an outdoor photographer, I treasure the pleasant quality of the light that comes with the winter sun that sits low in the sky. This low sun angle creates beautiful evening light all day long.

Many people enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and other outdoor activities. But let’s face it—most people don’t enjoy winter. They don’t care for the cold, snow and ice. The thoughts of bundling up, shoveling snow, or dealing with slick surfaces make hearts long for Eden.

Also, many less able-bodied individuals get stuck inside. Others simply choose to remain inside and “hibernate” to avoid winter’s cold.

But there is beauty in winter.

The Winters in our Lives

My dog, Montana, out for a walk in the snow.

On a winter walk with my mixed-breed dog, Montana, God spoke to my heart about winter’s beauty. The late afternoon sun cast long shadows as it came through the leafless trees. It glistened off the snow and brought out the shiny details in the black fur of Montana’s wiry black frame.

Even the pale bark of the bare trees had its own subtle charm. The entire scene was one where my heart could easily find rest. There, God reminded me that during the winters in our lives He is still with us.

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Just as there is beauty in winter, there is beauty in our trials. The book of Romans 8:28 declares,

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (NASB)

A bright red northern cardinal is an iconic winter image and shows winter’s beauty.

In the quiet splendor of our walk God showed me that just as I remain joyful in winter I should remain joyful in my struggles. That is hard for me. But in Thessalonians verses 5:16-18 Paul wrote, “Rejoice always… in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)

The Beauty of Winter

The beauty of the spiritual winter is often subtle, much like the beauty of the physical winter. I think of how new snow falls outside a window and piles up on the branches of an evergreen. It is soft, white and pure.

Snow on dried leaves, photo credit: Pat MingerelliSeveral passages in the Bible view snow in a positive light. They use it as a metaphor representing purity or God wiping away the stain of our sin. Psalm 51:7 Says, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

When we, as Christians, experience the winters in our lives, they can be subtly purifying. Often God molds our character in time of trails. It seems we grow quicker in hard times than in good. Perhaps that is why Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “Better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting.”

Just as my attitude towards winter makes it a lot easier to endure, God’s word tells us that the same is true about life. To trust in God while focusing on the good in our lives and circumstances not only helps us get through tough times, it’s His will for us to do so.

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Written by Pat Mingarelli

Hi. My name is Pat Mingarelli. I am an award-winning nature photographer with a unique kind of creation ministry. As an outdoor photographer I’ve spent countless hours observing God’s hand in creation. I’ve learned that God speaks to us through His creation and the creation speaks to us about God. You find me at TheCreationSpeaks.com

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  1. More great photography and nature writing Pat! I follow your Visual Verse of the Day app (https://visualverse.thecreationspeaks.com/) on my phone, but it is always a pleasure to see it show up here on The Creation Club too! With our passion and ministries so similar, I’ve wondered if we were twins separated at birth! LOL And, by the way, I didn’t intentionally steal your ministry title. If I had known I would have named mine “Creation Talks” or something! But all to the glory of our Creator! Blessings on your life and ministry! William — Mark 3:35 “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother…”

  2. Hi William. Thanks for the comment and thanks for following the Visual Bible Verse of the Day app! Sorry I am slow in replying. My family and I were on a short vacation.

    I just looked your website. That’s fun we have the same name! Though, it looks like I beat you to the domain name 😉. Great minds do think alike😀. Yes, all the glory to God!

    God bless you!

    Pat

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