By Curtis Shelburne: Religion columnist
It’s not officially winter just yet, but maybe you’ll forgive me for jumping the gun to say, I just went outside and saw a beautiful winter sky. I like what I saw.
I’d just let the dog out to take care of some extremely earthly business, and I followed her out the door so I could spend just a few moments looking up. It’s a late evening ritual she and I have repeated scores of times. But I’ve never yet seen exactly the same thing. God always paints and arranges the night sky just a bit differently, and I’m always interested to see what the Almighty will put on display next.
On this beautiful, almost winter night, the sky was cobalt blue and the moon was shining brightly. Orion and its belt and sword were standing guard, flanked by a host of other silvery stars. The stars never look better than in winter.
I like seasons, and I may like winter best of all. I love fireplaces with crackling fires, sweaters, good books, a cup of hot tea or strong coffee, a nice warm chair, and a little dog napping in your lap whose idea of paradise is being with you.
It’s true that in some ways winter symbolizes death.
The grass has mercifully given up for one more season. I was ready to see it go. Most of the leaves on our trees have relaxed their scant purchase on life and zig-zagged to the ground. Thus far in the autumn season of my life, the hair on my head has chosen not to fall, but it’s well on its way to turning as white as
As I stand outside for a few sweet moments each cold, clear winter evening, I love the deep breaths of deliciously cold air that remind me I’m still alive and glad to be aboard for one more winter, one more Christmas. I even like the fact that soon I’ll need to spend some time cutting and stacking firewood. I like to cut wood. And I like the fact that I’m not in the least tempted to talk on or listen for a cell phone while I’ve got a good grip on a chain saw.
I probably wouldn’t like running a chain saw for a living. I probably wouldn’t like below-freezing nights and blankets of snow if I had to break ice for a herd of cattle and not just a Great Dane. But I don’t, so I do.
Sometimes I fancy that those silvery stars are just God’s brilliant light shining through holes in a night sky canvas of cobalt blue.
We’ll never seen a more beautiful, crystal clear day than the one on which we’ll get to take an eternal peek behind that curtain, and we find ourselves breathing brilliant liquid light, fully alive for the first time.
I’m so glad there’s an eternal time and season for that, too.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at