Lingering Winter and the Cosmic Summer

The icy, wintery rhetoric of our current political climate leaves me longing for more than just a sunny day, but the cosmic summer, as C.S. Lewis so beautifully puts it. The frigid wind of broken humanity blows in largely publicized news headlines, with Las Vegas concerts, New York bike rides and Texas worship services gone terribly wrong. Yet, the chapping winds also blow through our homes in the unpublished, largely unknowns burdens that affect our families, from entrenched sin patterns to sudden sicknesses to the scourge of sibling rivalry. When a college student bravely shares her story of abuse with me or when I pass by homeless encampments, the wintry winds whip around me.

The freezing cold winter condition of humanity has been blowing of late, leaving my heart heavy and tottering to the more hopeless side. Advent and our celebration of the Incarnation of Christ could not have come at a better time.

In his short book, Miracles, C.S. Lewis calls the Incarnation of Christ the Grand Miracle, the central miracle from which all other Christian miracles hinge and to which they all owe their credit. In his incredible condescension to become human, Christ brought the first fruits of the coming cosmic summer in which all will be made well once again.

 “…God really has dived down into the bottom of creation, and has come up bringing the whole redeemed nature on His shoulder. The miracles that have already happened are, of course, as Scripture so often says, the first fruits of that cosmic summer which is presently coming on. Christ has risen, and so we shall rise… To be sure, it feels wintry enough still; but often in the very early spring it feels like that.”

My husband and I were on a getaway walking through frigid Central Park in the early Spring last year. As the ground crunched beneath us, I could not help but notice the brave little daffodils, pushing their colored buds out into the still-thawing air. Spring was not yet in full swing, but the daffodils were bravely declaring she was coming.

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Similarly, Lewis writes that in the Incarnation of Christ, a corner was turned on the wintery world of sin and brokenness.

“Two thousand years are only a day or two by this scale. A man really ought to say, ‘The resurrection happened two thousand years ago’ in the same spirit in which he says ‘I saw a crocus yesterday.’ Because we know what is coming behind the crocus. The spring came slowly down this way; but the great thing is that the corner has been turned.”

In the midst of the overwhelming chilly winds of the present day on this spinning globe, it did my heart good to be reminded that the corner has been turned. 

Christians have a secured and certain hope that the Summer will come on the heels of Christ’s second coming. We, of all people, should be the daffodils bravely declaring that the Winter does not get the last word, that the Sun is thawing the ice. Just as Lewis’ Aslan broke the spell of the White Witch who had held Narnia in perpetual winter, bringing life and vitality back, Christ has broken Winter’s spell.

It’s just that sometimes, the Winter seems to linger and the Spring seems long in coming. When a child is terminally ill, when a marriage seems stuck in the same rut, when another species loses its long-held, God-intended habitat to human greed, we can be tempted to fall under the spell of the long-lingering winter winds. Lewis reminds us that, like those brave daffodils in Central Park, we have the power to declare that Spring is coming, thawing the endless snowdrifts.

“We have the power of either withstanding the spring, and sinking back into the cosmic winter, or of going into those ‘high mid-summer pomps’ in which our leader, the Son of man, already dwells, and to which He is calling us. It remains with us to follow or or not, to die in this winter, or to go on into that spring and that summer.”

I wrote this poem along a similar theme. I pray that it would encourage those who feel trapped in Winter to continue to move toward and hope in that Coming Cosmic Summer.

Winter Waves a Slow Goodbye

Oh, grief-stricken friend,
Though snow drifts seem high,
The spring she is coming;
Winter waves a slow goodbye.

The blankets of heaviness
Merely Protect a deeper life,
Which now lying dormant,
Will sprout from this strife.

Hope’s wings may seem frozen,
Paralyzed in Premature pain,
Yet, at the sun’s sure thawing,
They will beat bravely again.

Oh, grief-stricken friend,
The stubborn winter gives way.
Blade by blade, life is coming,
Spring shall have the last say.

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