In contrast to the bright hues of springtime, the variegated greens of summer, and the warm colors of autumn, winter can seem somewhat drab—bare trees, white (if there’s any snow) or brown ground, and short, often cloudy, days. And yet….

Driving across the Rock River bridge this morning, with the sun barely over the horizon on my left, I scanned the scene to my right. A light mist rising from the water as it cascaded over the dam had formed a frost coating halfway up the trees on the river bank in Lawrence Park. It was as if someone attempted to paint the dull, dark bark a brilliant white—but ran out of paint!

We’ve had several below-freezing days lately, so there’s plenty of ice on the river itself; nevertheless, the water flows freely. And right on the edge of the ice, some in the water but the majority avoiding it, rest hundreds of birds—mostly geese, I think—as if they’re hunkering down, doing their best to keep warm while waiting for breakfast to swim by.

I passed an elementary school, its playground bustling with activity, children scurrying about in their games of tag or whatever, climbing on the mounds of plowed snow, or huddled in groups of constant movement, all of them actively trying to generate warmth under the layers of coat, hats, gloves, and sweaters. Pity the poor crossing guards standing, shivering at their posts!

As I finally head north on Freeport Road, the church property opens up on my left; the bright morning sun to my right washes the entire three acres in brilliant, blinding white. What appears to be mini white-peaked mountains have been formed behind the building—not by the upheaval of tectonic plates, but the mounding up of several days’ worth of snow plowing.

In the warmth of my study at last, I opened the curtains of my east-facing window. The sun’s rays are refracted by the dozens of icicles hanging from the roofline just outside, creating a dazzling spectacle of light. Tiny drops of light fall from these icy fingers as the sunlight works its melting magic. At that moment, I stopped to recollect all the scenes just described and realized there’s a winter wonderland all around that I almost missed!

And then I found Psalm 147:16–18 (ESV): “[The Lord] gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.”