Praise in the Winter

The leaves have fallen from the maples and the oaks, and now they are nothing more than a heap of crooked limbs just sitting there looking like death. Mourning their loss. Hoping for spring. They are waiting, and waiting is so hard when there is no sign of life to come.

Praise is easy when the tree is full.

I scribbled those words down in a journal a year ago. I was thinking about them as I walked the dog today. The trees are bare just as they had been last year. Lately the wind has been harsh and the sky a bitter grey. Walking in this cold, dreary weather feels like a chore. I’d much prefer burying myself beneath a pile of blankets (with a good book and a cup of coffee, of course) and waiting for spring to arrive before I ventured outdoors.

I heard a chirrup in the trees and looked up to find a robin, her chest puffed proudly, indifferent to the weather. “And yet the birds persist,” I thought. The robin still perches upon the bare branch and sings out her song for the world to hear—praise to her Maker.

I’m reminded of a quote I’ve recently seen floating around social media. I don’t know where it originated (it seems to be attributed to a few different sources). “Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway.” It’s a humble reminder that praise and joy are a choice—a discipline—independent of our mood or circumstance.

“But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.” Psalms 59:16-17

Author: Rebekah Durham

Rebekah Durham lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her three children.  She is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary and has written for numerous publications. She is an avid reader and in particular an admirer of C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, G.K. Chesterton, Henri Nouwen, and Dorothy L. Sayers (in no certain order). She'd also blindly follow Miss Marple (Agatha Christie's famous spinster sleuth) anywhere she wanted to go.

17 thoughts on “Praise in the Winter”

  1. I am reminded of the day after my father died. I was shocked to see that the sun still came out and birds still sang. Then I realized that THIS is the reason I can have hope (as Paul reminded us to always be ready to explain why we have it). Thank you-this is beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Praise is vital in all seasons of our life but perhaps more so in our winters, and yet this is when so many of us struggle and praise is hardest to offer. Much has been written about praising especially when it is hardest.

    But Rebekah, your allegory of the brave little robin on a bare branch, emptying its breast in song, even in the bitter cold, cuts through everything and speaks loudest and clearest of all.


    Liked by 1 person

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