I hate winter. Winter is like going to one of your wife’s friend’s weddings, the best part is when it’s over. If I had to rank the seasons, winter would always come in last. Even if there were a season called Armageddon, or fire, winter would still come in last. Think about it for a second. It’s cold, dark, windy, rainy, snowy, icy, and more than anything, miserable. It gets dark before you get off of work. And when you get off of work, it makes the commute home even worse. Not only are you stuck in traffic, but now you are stuck in cold, dark traffic and your car is salty. When I get home from work in the winter, all I want to do is sleep. Maybe I’m depressed in the winter, like on one of those commercials. You never see a depression commercial filmed in the summer. They show the sad people in the dark and cold. And after they take the medicine, then they’re outside in the warm summer, releasing butterflies and running with golden retrievers. Sometimes I wonder if those drugs really work, or if the change of seasons is what made the person happy. And then I remember that it’s a commercial, and I think about how I should stop watching so much television.

I believe winter is part of the fall of man. When Adam and Eve sinned, it got really cold, and God called it winter. That’s what it feels like, at least. There’s only one cool part about winter. I guess you could call it its saving grace. It has to do with breathing.

Breathing is important. I think that’s something we can all agree on. Breathing keeps us alive, that’s how God designed it. We take in air, we breathe it out, and somehow during this process our heart is allowed to keep beating. I’m not smart enough to understand it, but I’ve always wondered how it works. I’ve always wondered what’s really in a breath? I mean is a breath just this collection of molecules? Is it simply this physiological function that keeps us alive, or could it have more to do with actually living?

What if we thought about breathing differently? What if instead of trying to figure out the science of breathing, we looked at the wonder of it. What if we could view each breath as a gift not because it keeps us on this earth any longer, but because it provides a glimpse of our creator. What if the whole process has less to do with the preservation of our own existence, and more to do with the existence of God’s presence? Maybe if we looked at breathing a little differently, we could begin to see God, to see how close He is.

This is the only part I love about winter. Breathing. Winter’s one saving grace is this little chemical reaction. It takes place in the heart of winter, assuming winter has a heart. It happens in the middle of the cold, the misery. When it’s dark and the air is dry. Maybe you get into your car and it’s freezing, or maybe you’re taking out your trash, I don’t know. You take in a deep breath of winter air, and out of frustration put a little extra force into exhaling. And something happens. When the warm, wet air from our lungs contacts the cold, dry air outside, something happens. Chemicals collide, and this reaction takes place. I don’t know how it works, but it results in this cloud of smoke. And all of the sudden, we can see our breath. I remember being so fascinated with this when I was a kid because after all of my futile attempts, I could finally see what was inside of me. The stuff that was inside of me was actually coming out. And I could see it, it was right there in front of my face. I could even run my hand through it, manipulate it. It was incredible. It was like evidence of my existence, proof that I was really alive. I finally knew what was inside of me.

What if we could live like that? What if we lived with that assurance, of what was inside of us, of who lives inside of us. Would it change us? I always found it hard to believe that God lives inside of me. It sounds kind of funny to me, really, like it couldn’t be true. I always imagined a tiny Jesus, bored to death, sitting Indian style on top of my liver. But then I started to think about it differently. The Bible says that when God created us, He breathed His life into our lungs. He took each of us, and breathed His life into us. For me, this is the coolest picture of creation. I imagine God kneeling down, breathing His air into each set of lungs, cupping his hands around His mouth so not a drop is wasted.

So when you think about it, our breath is really His breath. His breath is our breath. We have the breath of the everlasting God resting in our lungs, waiting to be exhaled. Waiting to contact the cold, dry, dark winter and erupt into this beautiful display of His presence. It’s like evidence of His existence, proof of His proximity. It’s as if with each breath, we can see God.

I think maybe that’s what God meant when He said He is with us, that He is in us. And maybe He knew we would need a reminder of how close He is, especially in the dark, in the cold. Especially in the winter. Maybe He wanted us to know that even in the middle of our misery, He’s still there, still close. Just a breath away. It helps me to believe that God is that close, that His breath is mine. It helps me to think that God isn’t this tiny person sitting on my liver, but that this stuff about Him living in us and never leaving us is really true. I think it’s pretty cool that God gave us a reminder like this. And maybe it doesn’t help you, I don’t know. I think it’s pretty cool of God though, to think about us that much. It’s cool that He knows we need reminders when life is hard. When we’re in the middle of our misery and just want the season to be over, He reminds us He’s still there, we’re still made in His image, and there’s still heaven. I think we could live better lives if we really believed God was always with us, that He’s just a breath away. Also, my liver hurts.

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Categories: I Digress

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