One of my friends got onto someone the other day for referring to this current season as winter: "It's not the winter solstice!" she said. She's right, but it also snowed in Lubbock last weekend, so you tell me. I'm calling this post "Winter" anyway. I'm not a big fan of cold. And by that I mean I hate cold more than almost anything else. I've been known to run from the parking lot to the door of my old dorm, with my giant backpack bouncing off my shoulders, to avoid standing in the cold much longer. My purse used to have a decorative key on it -- until a week and a half ago, I raced (in heels and a pencil skirt) from the parking lot of the School of Music to its doors. I whipped inside so fast and with such force that the key clipped the metal frame of the door and broke off. My poor friends have to listen to me complain about the cold from November to April -- God bless y'all.

In my hatred of the cold season, though, God has shown me something. I had this thought last year around Christmastime, and the other day when I was driving to school, I had the same thought. The sunshine was streaming down in a perfectly clear blue sky -- there was not a spot in it. Everything was shades of gold, and all of life seemed beautifully crisp and clean and awash in light.

Y'all, winter is gorgeous.

It's cold and it's miserable and sometimes it's kind of crappy. The trees are dead and the wind can knock the breath out of your lungs. But it's so, so beautiful. It's wild. It's fierce. You can't tame it. You can't calm the wind or stop the cold. Its beauty is rugged. Something about the bracing cold makes the sunshine more golden. Something about the adversity of winter makes its beauty shine more.

By the way, no one is allowed to remind me that I wrote this the next time I complain about the cold.

Whenever I come to write one of these little snippets, I always run out of words. I can never say enough about beauty or grace or adventure. I think that's kind of a shame: these things fill my spirit to overflowing, but I can only overflow into so much, only express so much. I am only human.

But I think it's telling that what many see as the hardest part of the year is incredibly beautiful -- in spite of and because of its hardship. I don't know, I just think that's what's cool about God. He made winter beautiful. He's made your winter beautiful, too. Whether it's a gray day with a white sky and a sharp wind or a gorgeous morning with a golden sunrise and an azure sky -- He's made it beautiful. He gives grace to the hardships. His grace and affection make your hardships lovely. And really, aren't those the things that we remember most? They're our adventures. We look back on the crap that we've had to live through and see it awash with golden sunshine-grace. Those wild, untamable, harsh times are what make us adventurers, because by the grace of God we forge ahead through them and come out shining on the other side.

Something about this chilly season with its crisp, bright, clear, golden gorgeousness makes me feel more adventurous.

Don't be afraid of your winter. He's made it beautiful.