February in Minnesota is winter; there’s no getting around it. Snow is on the ground. Ice houses are on the frozen lakes. The plows and salt trucks are out in full force. The nightly news features a ski report on all the local ski hills, not mountains (hey c’mon, this is Minnesota, not Colorado). When Elsie, the children, and I moved to Minnesota from northern California the good Minnesotans told us to “embrace the winter.” Our California friends told us we’d be dead in six months. They told us, “You’re not used to the cold. You’ve got thin blood like us. You’ll freeze to death!” So they outfitted us with electric dipsticks, woolen afghans, and all manner of winter apparel.
Now I’m beginning a different winter season. I turned 75 years old in November and by any metric you use, I’m in the winter of my life. The Bible says, “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). Did you catch that? 80 years at the outside! So if the spring of my life is from birth-20 years, the summer of my life from 21-40, the fall of my life from 41-60, then the winter of my life would be from 61-80. I’m definitely in the winter of my life!
Spring is a marvelous season. The trees begin to bud and shoot out their leaves. Flowers pop their heads from the hard soil. The snow is gone and the temperature is rising. Spring is the time for planting. Seeds are sown in the warm soil and all manner of crops begin to sprout. Spring for us humans is also a season of growing. It’s the season when we are learning and growing physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. We are experiencing firsts of all kinds. We are learning skills and habits which will, hopefully, stand us in good stead all of our lives.
In summer everything is in full bloom. What started as seeds in spring has now grown to be adult plants in summer. What will eventually be harvested in fall is coming of age in summer. So, too, for you and me. Our summer of life is when we are employed and want to “make our mark” on the world. We marry and begin families. We want to move up the employment ladder, to provide for our families, to assume more responsibilities. It is a time to grow mature.
The fall of life is beautiful. God paints the landscape with a rainbow of colors. Fall is harvest time. All the seed sown in spring and the growth of summer has now produced a crop to be harvested in fall. Combines sweep the fields harvesting corn, wheat, and, soybeans. The harvest is stored or sold. Farmers store crops in silos for sale when the price is right or save it to feed their livestock or themselves. In our fall of life we reap the harvest of all we’ve sown in the spring and summer. It is a time of wisdom gained through the hard knocks of life.
Now onto the winter season. It has its own special type of beauty. Oh not the same beauty as the other seasons. The glimmering whites and shimmering grays of the trees. The coating of hoarfrost on the trees and bushes. The nip in the air to let you know you’re alive. It is all beautiful but it also bespeaks of dormancy. The trees go dormant and don’t grow. When winter begins it’s as if everything is preparing to die. Isn’t that also true for you and me. The winter of our lives is our time to prepare for death. For believers in Jesus it is a time not to fear or dread but to rejoice. It is the chance to go to heaven to the place Jesus has prepared for us. A chance to see the One we’ve loved for so long and to reunite with all our believing loved ones who have gone before us.
“Some glad morning when this life is o’er, I’ll fly away!” Will you join me? If Jesus is your Savior you will.