A Reversal in Winters

Until perhaps even as 100 years ago, winter was never the busiest season in the United States and the rest of the Western world. When the economy was primarily agrarian in nature, this was the cycle: springtime = planting; summer = growing and tending; autumn = harvest, and winter = rest.

However, “rest” did not equal lack of productivity. The snow and cold might drive everyone inside for warmth, but if we in the 21st century think our ancestors did nothing in winter, think again.

There were things to do in the winter, like fixing your tools. Whatever maintenance was deferred earlier in the year, now was the time to do it. If you need a new ax head, now is the time to make or buy one. If that tractor needs new tires, now was the time to buy them before it started all over again in a few short months. You might go hunting for food if there was big game in your area. I have seen enough of “Life Below Zero” and bits of “Alaskan Bush People” to know that getting enough food for the winter could make or break you.

When I was in college, my mother sent weekly excerpts from Chuck Swindoll’s devotional series about the seasons and how God works in your life in the metaphorical spring, summer, autumn, fall, and winter. Although, having grown up and now living in Southern California, I really have only two and a half seasons: spring, summer, and 3 weeks of “winter”. In a spiritual sense, there are seasons of life when you are very productive… and then there are spiritual winters where you are not productive, but God is still working by doing “spiritual maintenance” that might have been deferred but now is the time to do it so you can be more productive in the next season.

Winter is a time to slow down and do the hard work on your soul.

I have to ask, when did we start to speed things up in the United States? We just celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States. In five short weeks, it is Christmas. One week after that, it’s New Years 2023!

Depending on your social calendar, you have eaten not one, not two, but three or more Thanksgiving meals in the last 7 days. After Christmas festivities begin. The Christmas decorations are up. Christmas songs are on the radio. In 2 short weeks, I will be at both my company’s Christmas lunch and then that evening my church’s Christmas Volunteers party. Then after that, more gatherings.

Economists are watching the next four and a half weeks for store earnings. You can already see people going around looking for the best items for their holiday lights block party. My pastor said in as early as last week’s sermon that he hopes his house would not be so pathetic and might even go for the gold for the neighborhood Christmas lights contest. For sure, things are speeding up.

My suggestion:

Slow down. Don’t wait until January 2, 2023 as is your first inclination. Find a day in the next five weeks where you just don’t think about the busyness. Just you – no one else. It’s a scary thought, but you need it. For some of you readers, you might work in an industry where December is actually the slowest month since your customers have no budget left for new projects.

I do encourage you to take the time off and just recharge.


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