Well, the cold moved in this week. The calendar may not mark it as officially winter yet, but nobody told the weather. For some, this may not be a particularly big deal, however, the cold and I have never gotten along. There is just something about it that makes me angry. Perhaps, it is because it can beat you up and you can’t do anything about it. The cold nips at your face; the wind pushes you and throws things at you; soon, the snow and ice will come, creating slippery mines of black ice hidden from weary travelers. Even a trip to the grocery store becomes a battle to the death between you and your unseen foe.
Yes, I think that is why I do not like the cold. It represents helplessness. No matter how smart, educated, motivated, or powerful we are, the cold haunts us all. It reminds us of all our weaknesses and mocks our frailty. It brings with it the hope and excitement of the holiday season like a trojan horse, for the beauty and awe of winter quickly turns to a brown and dark mess. By January 2nd, the false romance is over and the cold’s true nature is seen and loathed by all.
Of course, the cold is merely a metaphor representing a deeper, darker secret frustration that we all feel. The cold brings out our true nature and sheds light on the inevitable fact: life is not always what we want it to be. No matter how hard we fight and rebel, there are simply forces of nature beyond our control.
That is what it really comes down to: the cold reminds us of all our disappointments, failures, and sorrows. The long nights and dark days taunt our hopes and dreams. Yet, there is real hope! While the cold proves that we can control very little, there is an even bigger force that promises warmth and comfort. Even in the darkest, coldest of days, it is there. The sun. The sun’s rays break through the clouds, warm the earth, and provide life in the midst of death.
Even more so, there is another, even greater sun. He is the Son of God, the Saviour of our souls and the giver of life. No matter how dark the days of our lives seem, this Son can and will provide rest, comfort, and warmth. Don’t believe me? That’s OK. The truth is that at first glance, this seems like a superficial, typical religious response. “If your life sucks, turn to Jesus,” we have all heard before. We have read the bumper stickers. But, there is so much more to the story. Contrary to pop culture, Jesus did not come to give us a good life. He promises no riches; He’s not around to end all earthly suffering, nor was His birth, death, and resurrection for the purpose of pointing fingers or taking the moral high ground.
No, that is not what Jesus represents. That is merely what we have relegated Him to: a moral dictator, and a giver of gifts to the worthy. That is not who Christ really is. So who is He? He is quite the opposite from the pop culture perspective. Instead of a moral dictator, He came to save us from our failures, not to point fingers at them (Romans 3:23). He does not reward the “worthy” with gifts of wealth and prosperity, but He came to make the unworthy worthy (Matthew 20:16). While the world portrays Jesus as a hater of sinners, the truth is that He loves sinners, He hung out with sinners, and most importantly He died for sinners.
So what does this have to do with cold weather? We are all cold. We all face, head-on, the bitter winds of life that blow in disappointment and regret. Most of us have a feeling, no matter how deep we hide it, of unworthiness, and a fear of a world that we have little control over. The storms that brew in our lives can leave us weak, hurting, and unable to see the light or feel the warmth of the sun. But Christ came to break through the clouds that pour out pain and suffering down on us. He did not come for the strong, but to uplift the weak.
The cold reminds me of how weak I am, of how dark my life can be. Yet, I am confident that the Son will always be close to me. That His loving grace, mercy, and compassion can protect me from the blinding blizzard that is my life. His life, death, and resurrection is a warm blazing fire and a wool blanket that keeps me warm on the coldest of days. Though I have no control over the storms of life, I can be confident and content within the midst of them, knowing that there is nothing I can do to separate me from the tender care of the Creator of the universe and His Son.
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:40). This is what slices through the cold. The fact that all we must do to receive the warmth is to believe, accept and acknowledge that Christ cares for and love us. There is nothing we can do to fight off the cold, but there is One who will surround us with a warmth beyond comprehension.