The kids and I traveled to the far northern edge of New Hampshire’s White Mountains for the Christmas holiday, a trip that coincided with the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. On a day that was -1 degrees Fahrenheit, the coming of the solstice brought little comfort. We may enjoy more daylight from this point on; but here in New England, the coldest part of winter is still to come. While the solstice may have astronomical significance, to us it’s just another cold day in a long, cold winter.
Unlike Washington, our old home state, New Hampshire’s mountains are covered with a majority of deciduous trees. In winter, the once lush slopes look bald. Groups of scrawny, hardy evergreens faithfully present their colors on an otherwise gray and white canvas. Rock faces now exposed by leafless trees look sharp and grim.
The landscape of our life looks so different too from how it did almost six months ago. In some places, we’ve gone from flourishing to just hanging on. In others, we are developing rock-solid resilience we never imagined we could. In all things, we are learning that the only way through grief is waiting.
Whether or not we feel the lengthening of days, we are beginning again to tilt toward the sun. I pray that the warm light of Christ’s presence will illumine our darkness this winter. That as the days grow lighter and warmer I will sense the dawning of His good kingdom that is to come.