Winter in the Mountains -- By Joseph J. Mazzella

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matt 5:14-16 NIV)

Winter here in the mountains of my home is difficult sometimes, but it never leaves you bored. There are snowstorms in it that can dump a half a foot of snow at a time closing down schools, businesses, and roads. There are bitterly cold days with wind chills that can slice through three layers of clothes and leave you feeling like an icicle. There are long, dark nights and short, cloudy days that can drain your energy and make you long for an afternoon nap. There are also, however, days like today with warm sunshine gently melting the shimmering white snow, with children in half open coats throwing snowballs and making snowmen, and with people outside stopping to talk, laugh, and share the warm light of their own souls as well.

Winter like life has both its good days and its bad days, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I myself think that our greatest triumphs come when we face those cold, dark, and difficult winter days of our lives with goodness in our hearts and God in our souls. Few things strengthen our joy like shoveling our drives and helping our neighbors to shovel theirs. Few things toughen our optimism and enthusiasm like facing the long, dark nights while still looking up to see the stars in the sky. Few things build up our love like meeting the bitter coldness of the world with the warmth of our own caring and giving hearts.

It is those bitter, winter days that make the sweet, warm, and sunny days like today all the more enjoyable too. This is because in those cold, dark days our own lights grew brighter, our own hearts grew warmer, and our own souls grew sweeter. By choosing and sharing love and joy in the darkness we became more at one with God’s light, and by becoming more at one with God’s light we became more at one with who we were meant to be. Have a joyous life then and always be willing to share the warm light of your soul on a cold, dark, winter day.

Joseph J. Mazzella