Winter's brown-ness and bare-ness is often not seen as beautiful like spring or fall's vibrant colors. But closer inspection usually yields quiet surprises of beauty. The elegant profiles of deciduous trees are revealed after losing their cloaks of leaves. And the texture of the bark, the gnarliness or gracefulness of branch growth, the abandoned bird nests, and the late fall cocoons with metamorphosing caterpillars wating for the warmth of spring to burst forth as butterflies or moths, clinging fruit or seed that feed the birds in the cold months. What beauty is added to it when a colorful bird perches there, or snow sticks to the branches making them look magical especially in the moonlight, or rain drops cling in rows, looking like a string of diamonds glistening on a gloomy day.
These are moments that stop me in my tracks and tell me to give thanks for such beauty emanating from earth's dormancy - a vision of Eden in a raindrop - and a promise of what is to come, for every seed that falls to the ground dead in winter holds the promise of new life in spring.
Promise, new life, rebirth, renewal -- all is held within the barrenness of winter, showing us that God has not abandonded us but is quietly at work in us to bring this all about for us, for the Kingdom, for His glory.