A frozen world, a fiery hope

| Liz Kelly | December 19, 2018 | 0 Comments
Winter field scene


My beloved summer lake has now become a beloved winter lake, frozen into silence and stillness. The ice is thick enough to safely traverse, and my shining water world has become a sanctuary to me, a holy place to walk and pray and listen for God’s voice.

I unleash my dogs and we begin on the edges, making our way through the once marshy spots. My pups race back and forth between the muskrat mounds, big dome-shaped huts made from branches and cattails, where deep below the little creatures are lodged in hibernation. The snow crunches underneath my boots, my breath catches the air, I tighten my hood.

Gradually, the marsh gives way and we find ourselves heading out onto the deep of the lake where there is nothing ahead of us, just a vast, frozen, unpeopled expanse. It is our little winter desert, and its emptiness increases a sense of isolation in me. I feel my utter insignificance in the universe, and the hermit in me is comforted.

I am especially fond of walking the lake late in the day as the sun begins to set. Even on a cloudy day, it seems the sun still manages to penetrate the haze, announcing his presence with pink and orange hues that stretch like fiery arms along the horizon. There’s a desolate kind of peace in it, the kind that creates space for wonder.

And though the wind may whip bitter and unforgiving against my face, I marvel at the wild imagination of the Creator of heaven and earth who has seen fit that I should have a relationship with an object 94 million miles away. What a staggering thought. And though there be millions of miles of crystalline atmosphere between us, I still interact with Brother Sun, and he with me. He lights my path; I feel the heat of his burning heart; I must shade my eyes when he alights on the snow — he will not be ignored even in winter, even 100 million miles away.

I have to admire Brother Sun; he is not intimidated by winter nor darkness nor the vast expanse of space. Not even a little bit. He burns on with celestial patience and a natural trust in the rhythms set forth by his Creator. Winter will come, and it will go, but Brother Sun knows what he is daily, dutifully about. He blazes on, reminding me too that there is no expanse that Jesus cannot traverse; there is no distance big enough to keep him away from me, no barrier he cannot penetrate with his light, his healing, his glory. God Almighty would send me Brother Sun and the Infant-King to remind me of his awesome power and untamed creativity.

In an especially intentional way, this season asks us to “wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ” — and so we do. But I find myself praying that my hope is not only joyful, but fiery too, passionate, steadfast and unintimidated by even the most bitter spiritual winter.

God of the cosmos, you have appointed every star in the heavens and yet poured your glory into a child. May we await the Savior’s coming in joyful, fiery, fearsome hope.

Kelly is the author of six books, including the award-winning “Jesus Approaches” (Loyola Press, 2017) and a parishioner at St. Pius X in White Bear Lake. “Your Heart, His Home” is now a podcast. Listen at lizk.org.

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Category: Featured, Your Heart His Home