Winter is here. Now for most of us from India, especially South India, it marks a relief from the sweltering heat of the tropical sun. However on this side of the world “winter” rings in a heavy sigh. It reminds us of torturous mornings of shoveling snow, of shorter days and longer nights, of slower traffic and snowed in roads.
Right from the time people knew I was marrying a Canadian I was warned of the harsh winters. Once I landed here, I was advised to soak in the bliss of summer as much as I could while it lasted. Well summer went by, the leaves turned color only to fade and give away to the dreadful winter.
I must admit I don’t hate the winter… yet. Maybe it's because I haven’t had to shovel snow or take the bus at wee hours of the morning. Probably by February my feelings for winter will be as bitter as the cold. Right now I am enjoying the sights and sounds of the season, admiring how a lump of ice could beautifully be laced on trees and roof-tops.
However, I do miss morning sunshine. Every morning I am caught in a mental conversation between my body and my will-- “the sun is not yet up, sleep in a little longer,” till my desperately snoozing alarm reads 8:00 a.m. To my Indian-tuned brain, a morning without the sun, is no morning at all. Most of you might face my dilemma of wanting to cozy up with your blankets on winter mornings to continue to sleep in complete abandonment. I have yet to meet a Canadian bravely claiming to be a morning person.
As you reluctantly get off your covers your body instantly yearns for something to shrug off the sluggishness. Almost of all us head for that hot cup of coffee. It's almost like our bodies cannot align its senses into proper functionality till we have downed some caffeine. For some it might be working-out ( I don’t understand these people!) or checking last night’s game highlights or browsing whats app texts. Whatever it might be, we all have our very own individual “morning fix.” A perpetual morning ritual practiced religiously within the first few waking minutes of our day. If by any chance this morning ritual is missed, there is a sense of discontent, uneasiness or loss. Some consequences could be more far-reaching like migraines over that missed out morning coffee or anxiety over catching up with missed out social media activity.
Recently I spoke with a godly woman who mentioned that every morning from 5:00 - 6:00 a.m. was her time with her Lord. Every family commitment or calling would be welcomed from 6:01 onwards. Her time with the Lord for that one hour was her morning fix.
Now, every Sunday school-going child knows that the very first thing that one is supposed to do is have your quiet time with the Lord. Unfortunately, most of us don’t crave it like that cup of coffee. We may not feel like something is amiss without that time with the Lord. The closest to what we might feel is a pang of guilt.
Let me be honest, nothing like a cup of tea and 15 minutes with the newspaper preps me to start my mornings. However, almost every new year I resolve and re-resolve to have a year where a morning would never go by without my time with the Lord. Honestly speaking, I have failed… over and over. The chores of the day, the responsibilities of the hour or in most cases sheer laziness whisks away my time with the Lord.
But God has been patient, ready to listen and converse with me whether I make my first conversation of the day with Him during a mid-day crisis or few minutes before I go to sleep or even if I have missed out on days on end of devotional time. However, over time, my devotional time has been more consistent. I have moved from days of “having to” to “wanting to” discipline myself for devotions. The sense of guilt is replaced by a sense of loss if I haven’t spent time with Him and is followed by an urgency to make up for it. Though I must admit my first thoughts in the morning still gear towards that cup of tea and what I should pack for my husband’s lunch. I am a work in progress, it's a constant matter of disciplining myself to it until it's a part of my very nature.
Many of you may have resolved the same thing this year-- to have that dedicated time with the Lord faithfully and consistently, but it hasn't happened yet. Here is a word of encouragement from my experience-- He is patient.
It may take you 365 days or like me, twenty-odd years, but keep at it. Let it be the first desire of your heart as you brave the cold and struggle out of bed. May your first urge be to pick your Bible and not your phone. May you first talk to the Lord before you talk to yourself on tasks of the day. Let the scriptures refresh you beyond that first cup of coffee. And hopefully someday along with the psalmist we may confidently say “My voice in the morning thou shalt hear oh Lord , in the morning I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalm 5:3).
Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash