Greetings everyone. Rob here.
In the middle of winter, as it is here in Aotearoa – New Zealand, life can start to feel like drudgery. The weather’s a bit bleak, energy levels are down, your nose always seems to be running, the kids are inside with outside voices, and the people around you are often feeling the same way too. This means that we have to make a very deliberate effort to come before God and ask for his eyes to see, his ears to hear and his heart to engage with life.
At other times of the year our bodies and minds are naturally refreshed by sunlight and warmth; flowers and birds; longer days and time outside. That’s not the case in winter, although I do recommend getting outside as much as possible, even if it involves a raincoat and gumboots. What’s really needed in winter is the ability to notice and celebrate life wherever you can find it. This is why we need God’s eyes to see. As the source of life, he can point us towards life. He can refresh our spirits and renew our minds because that’s the effect his life has on us.
So, while today is cold and bleak, I can look out my office window and see the church’s neighbour, an elderly lady, going about her job delivering pamphlets. She also helps at the local school, picks up rubbish, sorts out our bins, seems to know everyone and smiles a lot. I can give thanks for her and the gift she is to our local community. I can also look at the High School across the road and see the kids slugging it out in P.E. I can give thanks for a school of great diversity, their commitment to learning and the opportunities they give our teens to grow. I can also look through our church buildings and celebrate a playgroup, a toy library and a breakfast programme that have all blessed people today.
As the sun tries its best to poke its head through the rising cloud I’m thankful this winter’s day that the God of life is active and intentional in our community. People are going about their jobs of teaching, serving, cleaning and caring. The streets look clean because of the rubbish service yesterday. I’m grateful for that and for the people who value beauty enough to have planted trees and plants, tended their lawns and brought some colour to the world. I’ve also laughed with someone today and that too is a great gift. I suspect that I’ve noticed these things today because I gave myself over to God this morning and intentionally asked for his eyes to see, his ears to hear and his heart to engage. I’ll need to do that again as the day goes on, because winter days are long. What are you asking God for today? Is it just to ‘get through’ the day? Lift your sights. God invites us to participate in his life, so ask for his life and love to flow in and through you. It helps, it really does.
So, may you ask and receive. May the eyes of your heart be opened. May you give thanks for the many gifts that today has for you and may you the grace and peace of God be upon you.