“His mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
This scripture is life-giving and liberating. The heart knows all too well the constant need of continual renewal and fresh restoring.
Each day brings the glorious light of morning and with that comes the precious promise of God’s blessed mercies.
“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimony” (Psalm 25:10).
Certainly springtime is one of humankind’s most excellent metaphors for a “new beginning” filled with new mercies. We wait in the cold, gray dormancy of winter for that clean slate and fresh start. Just maybe though, the blooming of a colorful April is a second step in God’s quarterly seasonal cycle instead of the first.
Consider winter. It’s the time of rest—pulling in and coming home. It’s about warm fireside meditation and prayers. In winter months, we are given a seasonal Sabbath rest to enjoy slowing down by retreating for the expansion of our hearts and minds. Winter is a season to roll-out the blueprints and dream for spring, summer, and fall—to reimagine our lives anew from a budding and colorful spring through a fruitful and glowing fall.
I dearly remember winters in Colorado as a child with below-freezing temperatures and the breathtaking beauty of freshly fallen snow. As kids, my siblings and I would play in the yard making angels or snowmen, and the next morning it would all disappear with a layer of fresh, beautiful snow that had blanketed everything during night. It was a new and glorious start. All the old steps of yesterday covered over as if they never happened. Freshly-fallen snow represents the mercies of God anew for the day. It a beautiful visual of the verse found in
Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, let us settle the matter, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Truly, winter is a new beginning and a Sabbath—a call to rest and refresh. This idea actually encourages me through the gray and barren days. God is making me ready now to embrace the resurrection of spring and all the bounty that it entails, but He bids me not to miss the singular and austere beauty and importance of winter.
The Lord of creation is always speaking to and teaching us through the patterns of the universe. God’s original design for the week is found in Genesis 1:5: “So the evening and the morning were the first day.”
The biblical record of Genesis 1 clearly shows that the days of the week were originally calculated as “evening” then “morning.” Every reference of the seven days of creation uses this prescribed arrangement—day that begins at sunset.
Genesis 1 commemorates days from evening to morning as a metaphor of God turning darkness into light. This tradition has been carried on through the New Testament time and is observed and practiced in the lifestyle today of many observant Jews. We as Christian believers are not constrained to delineate days and nights in the same way, but an understanding of the Jewish way of observing time is natural to understanding some of the cultural practices and traditions in the Bible.
The biblical day begins in the rest of evening. The day of rest— Sabbath—also begins in the rest of evening. Although Winter comes at the end of each year, perhaps it is a type of beginning.
With all of its chaos, debris, and gray, Winter is not a season to endure rather a much needed halt—a refreshing opportunity to beginning with a clean slate of fresh-fallen snow sparkling in the evening sky and covering all the steps and missteps of yesterday. Perhaps the beauty and mystique of the colder darker months exceed the majesty of the green of new leaf for those who have eyes to see. In this slowing down, would-be-blue-season, God is calling us to respite and drawing up new blueprints for tomorrow. Maybe it’s not the end of a long cycle but a fresh beginning. Maybe it’s not something to be endured but something necessary to cherish. Perhaps winter is a first thing and not a last thing.