The gift of winter

by Vicki Russell and Fr Brian Collins of Resurrection Parish, Keysborough and St Anthony’s Parish, Noble Park

Over recent months, our faith communities have shared many significant traditional ceremonies and seasons.

For many of us, as we now enter into a quieter time in our rituals and practices, the coming winter season can provide an opportunity to utilise our time to slow down and be a time of reflection.

Winter gives us all an opportunity to reflect on the important and treasured aspects of our lives.

Winter can be a time to reflect on the past and envision the future. Normality as we know it largely stops.

It can be a gift to take the opportunity to reflect on our relationship with our faith, our family, friends and the wider world.

The change in weather enables us to take the opportunity to delve into our inner life.

As we spend less time outdoors in the warmth and sunshine, in the winter stillness we are given opportunities of intimacy and reflection, to spend more time inside and reflect on our faith tradition and values, the important things in our life.

In addition, winter is a time when the whole family take time for themselves and each other.

Winter is a time for home, for comfort, for good food and warmth, creative pastimes, for reading, for winter sports, for connection with those we love and care about and a time to deepen our connection with the source of all life.

Winter provides an opportunity to allow a spiritual “fallow” time.

Most people would associate the term with a farming process.

Fallow (of farmland) describes the land ploughed and harrowed but left for a period without being sown in order to restore its fertility or to avoid surplus production.

Land is left idle for a season after ploughing and harrowing, so that weeds and insects are killed while the soil regains its fertility.

Our spiritual fallow time is when we take a break from the busy-ness, from doing, from rushing and make time for stillness and the restoration of our inner being.

The season of winter provides a perfect platform for this to occur.

Let us together take the opportunity of the winter season to renew our beliefs and priorities with the new insights and beginnings that this experience offers us.