Where I live in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, January can be a stark month — cold, gray, somewhat dreary, and at times, quite cheerless. When I look outside my home, the farmland around me is brown, quiet, and restful. The tall silent trees on my property reach bare jagged branches into a sky that often looks gray and unpredictable.
For me — with the noisy holidays gone and the New Year lying uncertain before me — it can be challenging to keep my mood from matching the bleak landscape around me. It can be difficult to remain positive and cheerful when the atmosphere outside appears drab and gloomy.
While I dream of scenery that is colorful and long to observe growth and warmth around my home, Ecclesiastes 3 is a reminder that there is a time and a place for such seasons.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”
Rest is good. Certainly the animals hunkered down in their little burrows and the perennial plants quietly rejuvenating in the cold soil for another growing season are using the weather to their advantage. They are in no hurry to speed winter’s cold, nor do they find reason to complain that the weather is infringing on their lives or interrupting their cycle of growing.
January is a great month for books we’ve been meaning to read, naps we’ve been longing to take, or friends we’ve been needing to catch up with. Maybe if we are willing to follow nature’s example, we too can learn to use this season to slow down, rest, and nurture ourselves for whatever growth and challenges lie ahead. Perhaps we too will then raise our heads in gladness when spring heralds its arrival, knowing full well that we allowed ourselves full restoration of mind, body, and spirit.
Until then, with hopefulness,