Winter Hope

A ‘Thought for the Day’ for Black Cat Radio, 11th January 2020

If you’ve ever been to Anglesey Abbey and walked round the gardens, you’ll have seen that they have a lot of statues. In the winter they cover the statues up, I guess to protect them from bad weather. One of the statues they cover up is, ironically, one that represents winter. This statue shows winter as an old, tired-looking man, because winter is seen as the end of the year, a time when things die off and we wait for new life in the spring.

That’s not the whole story of winter, though. Even though it looks like nothing is happening the world is still turning and nature is still at work. Underground spring bulbs are preparing to break the surface. Hibernating animals are waiting to wake up. The ground is resting and restoring itself. Birds fly in from foreign lands to spend time with us. The days are starting to get longer.

And us humans have settled on the 1st January as the start of a new year, right in the middle of the winter. In fact, the word “January” comes from the Roman god “Janus”, who had two faces. One looked back to the past and one looked forward to the future. So, we too see that winter is not just the end of everything and a time when nothing happens and a everything is dead. Instead, we also recognise that new things can happen even when everything seems dead and unmoving.

I think this is an important thing to remember for all of us – that even if things don’t seem to ever change, even if everything feels dark and dead and cold, there may be hope just under the surface, waiting to surprise us.

May you be surprised by hope this year.