Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: winter solstice

Change is in the air

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Image by Tovin Sannes-Venhuizen from Pixabay

A few days ago the days started to grow longer. I can’t tell the difference yet–the sun still rises at 9:15 AM and sets at 5:00 PM. The daily change so far is small: today is 25 seconds longer than yesterday, tomorrow will be 30 seconds longer than today. But I know that soon it will change by 3 minutes a day or more and in six months the sun will rise at 5:30 AM and set at 9:45 PM, giving us long, glorious summer days.

Winter has just begun, yet the change that will defeat winter has also begun. We will have snow storms and bitterly cold weather over the next few months, yet the inexorable force of the sun that will drive winter away has begun its campaign.

Today you see a little girl, carefree, careless, not paying much attention to the things her mother tries to teach her. If you watch her day after day you will not notice a change. But if you go away for a few years, then come back, you see this little girl transformed. Now she is a mother, trying to teach her own little girl all the things she learned from her mother. And almost despairing because the child doesn’t seem to be listening. But she is and the cycle will repeat. This is how growing up works. It is a natural process; it happens almost unseen until one day you take stock and realize how much is different.

Perhaps today you see a young man, a rebel, a wastrel, drifting farther into the dangerous allurements the world offers. People try to warn him, to help him. He ignores them, rejects their counsels. It seems hopeless. But just perhaps you may come back some day and find this same young man with a wife, a family, a home. He reads the Bible to his family, takes them to church, is always ready to speak of his love for God and for Jesus. It can happen, I’ve seen it happen, it happened to me.

This is not a natural change, it is supernatural. Yet the change did not happen overnight. There was a precise moment when there was a 180° turn in the direction his life was going. But people looking on didn’t notice a difference at first. Then a few changes appeared, one by one, a little at a time. He made mistakes, but now there was something within him that kept him from giving up. He made corrections and kept going. Today he does not seem at all like the person he used to be. Because he isn’t.

There are cycles that God set in order at Creation that continue to happen. We say it’s just part of nature. The movement of the celestial bodies, day and night, the cycle of the seasons, the growth of a child. We have no control over such things. There are other things, such as conversion, that will not happen unless we give God permission. He does not force us to be a Christian, we cannot make ourselves be a Christian by wisdom and determination. But if we hear God call our name, open the door of our heart, the Holy Spirit comes in and begins to transform us.

© Bob Goodnough, December 27, 2019

The first day of winter

Today is the winter solstice, the day when winter officially begins.  In real life, we’ve had a month of winter here already, with far too many days when the temperature went down to -30°  Celsius at night and only went up by 5 or 10 degrees in the daytime.

Our two youngest cats insist on going out whenever they see the sun shining brightly outside.  Pookie, the youngest, soon comes in and seems thankful for a warm home.  Angus stays out longer but doesn’t venture off the back step into the snow.  When he comes in, he begins to wail in an accusing tone: “Who stole my summer?  What did you guys do with the green grass, the birds and all the other living things?”

Panda, the oldest, remains curled up in a chair.  Elle a déjà vu neiger.  This is French for she has seen it snow before, which is the French equivalent of she wasn’t born yesterday.

I was born in winter time, which means I am now entering my 72nd winter.  I have seen all kinds and it seems like lately we are getting back to the kind of long winters I knew as a boy.

But there are still “experts” telling us that the world is getting warmer and we need to take drastic measures to avoid an apocalypse.  My experience, and the reading of history, convinces me that there is no such thing as normal weather.  What we call normal is only the average of the extremes.

It seems foolish to take a few years weather data and extrapolate  a long term trend from it, especially when more recent data does not support the original predictions.  I’m afraid the main expertise of the “experts” is in sowing panic.

I’m with Panda, there’s no point getting excited about the weather.  But maybe I’m a little like Angus, too — it does make a good topic of conversation.

 

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