Groundhog Winter

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I am one of a few million Canadians who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, a type of depression shared by many who attempt to survive winters where the sun shines for about eleven minutes a day. We sing sad songs like, “Here comes the sun, not really…” Sitting near a special lamp can help. Or staring out south windows hoping to see Mexico. A daily jog or walk can be therapeutic. Of course, the best treatment is two weeks in Hawaii. Sadly, we didn’t go anywhere Aloha this winter and I must admit feeling like Bill Murray did in Groundhog Day, that I’ll never wake from this groundhog winter, that summer is an impossible dream. I saw an advertisement in a newspaper from a lady who’d given up: “Hope chest: Brand new, half price, long story.” At times I feel like that gal.

And so I’ve taken to asking my grandkids what gives them hope. I asked Caleb. He said, “Nothing. Nothing.” He’s two. Macy answered, “The Paw Patrol puppies.” She’s three and believes that if all else fails, the puppies will save her. What gives you hope? Three-year-old Seth says, “I don’t know. You tell me.” Fair enough.

For most, hope is a wish, something that may come our way if we just keep our fingers crossed, our thoughts positive, our hard-luck far far away.

But biblical hope is quite the opposite. It’s more solid, dependable, unswerving. It’s the confident expectation in the midst of our messes that what God promised he will do. The strength of our hope is found not in our circumstances, but in the strength of our God, in his character, in his faithfulness.

Staring out a south window at 4 PM at the setting sun, we can remember God’s promise that as long as the earth remains…summer and winter will never cease, and we can say, “Summer’s comin’, baby. I don’t hope so. I know so.”

In a Peanut’s cartoon Lucy says to Linus, “Get me a glass of water.” Linus says, “You never do anything for me.” “On your 75th birthday,” Lucy promises, “I’ll bake you a cake.” Linus gets up, heads to the kitchen and says, “Life is more pleasant when you have something to look forward to.” Linus is right. Looking at the future through the eyes of faith fills our horizon with hope and purpose.

Does the winter seem endless? Is the darkness impenetrable? Hang onto the prophet Micah’s words tailor-made for those of us who are SAD sad: “Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” And remember my 6-year-old theologian granddaughter Sophia’s words too: “Hope is having Jesus to talk to.”

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