“Tis winter now; the fallen snow
Has left the heav’ns all coldly clear;
Through leafless boughs the sharp winds blow,
And all the earth lies dead and drear.

And yet God’s love is not withdrawn;
His life within the keen air breathes,
His beauty paints the crimson dawn,
And clothes the boughs with glitt’ring wreaths.

And though abroad the sharp winds blow,
And skies are chill, and frosts are keen,
Home closer draws her circle now,
And warmer glows her light within.

O God! who giv’st the winter’s cold
As well as summer’s joyous rays,
Us warmly in Thy love enfold
And keep us through life’s wintry days.

Samuel Longfellow penned these words published in 1864. As a poetry and literature fan, I enjoy the beauty of older hymns written in an eloquent fashion. As a former English teacher, I come by this honestly.

While not all of us live in areas where we experience the cold as described here, the analogy of winter can be understood regardless of our own experiences. Some people love the snow and cold and enjoy bundling up in warm outer layers and bracing the biting winds. I do not! I prefer the broil of summer sun even though for me it often results in a scorching sunburn. Longfellow may have felt the same way as he equates the winter season and its treachery to the unkind world void of hope. 

But Longfellow uses the example to express the thought that God does not leave us alone in these stark and lonely environments. His love is present in all circumstances, but sometimes we have to look for it if other factors distract us from him. Longfellow demonstrates this idea with the imagery of the colorful sunrise and glittering boughs, both beautiful scenes to notice during the winter season. 

God’s presence can turn the harsh factors around us to comforting and beautiful as we learn to be present and found in God instead of our circumstances. We can find his peace in the midst of our turmoil. As his children, he also knows our needs like Longfellow coins as a warm home that resists the sharp winds and chilly skies. When our doubts seem to be the only thoughts on our mind, God created all, knows all, and sees all. In the midst of winter, we need to seek his love and hope to “keep us through life’s wintry days.” Doesn’t that sound just lovely?

Jessica Carlson, Coach

Categories: Leadership


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