Like so much of our nation Idaho has experienced the sudden and profound shock of winter.  Skiers celebrated as the local slopes opened for Thanksgiving only to have a continuing chain of storms build on its initial two foot base.   The sudden and early changes in the weather pushed elk and deer herds out of the back country to lower lying winter ranges.  In the past few weeks evidence of their passing can be clearly seen by the tracks which trail across the drifted slopes of Timber Butte. Squaw Butte to the West is again sculptured by windblown snow and ice that accentuated its jagged outcroppings and ridges and our pond has already formed a sheet of nearly skate-able ice.

Winter is here again and with it all the challenges that it demands.  Challenges like the constant clearing of our quarter mile driveway, chaining up and maintaining the tractors so they can stay mobile after each fresh dump of snow and the constant thawing of watering troughs for all our barnyard friends.  There are other jobs too, although not so pressing.  Jobs like stringing Christmas lights, hanging wreaths and preparing the house yet again to commemorate and celebrate the joy and wonder of our Savior’s birth.

Every new season brings with it new sets of challenges but more than that, a unique spiritual message characteristic to itself.  I believe the fresh winter snows speaks of renewal and the cleaning and purity that only God can provide.  Even though there are always tasks that need doing  winter isn’t so much a time to accomplish as it is a time to sit by a fire and reflect; giving thanks the accomplishments of the past spring, summer and fall as well as to contemplate the seasons to come.

For me it is a gift to live where the seasons are distinct because they are a testimony to the reality and the nature of God. The Bible even says, “Yet he (God) has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”  [Acts 14:17]