A Simple Antidote for the Wintertime Blues

Winter days get me down.  It’s cold and nasty out.  The walls of our little townhouse start to close in.  Even the dog and cats are little crabbier during these cold winter evenings.  If I allow it, life can easily get me down this time of year.

What I have to do is remind myself of this simple fact:

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. “ – Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

Being self-absorbed in our troubles is a dangerous place to hang out.  Boredom doesn’t help.  But the truth of our situations is simply that, despite how we feel, no matter how things look, we have cause to celebrate.  And, if we look hard enough, we can see that our blessings truly outweigh the negative in our lives. 

I look across the room at my beautiful wife, smiling and lovely, who loves me and supports me and takes such good care of me.  I would not be the man I am were it not for her.  I love her so much.

I look on the floor of our living at my beautiful four-year-old son, chatting away with his mother as he busily tends to his train set.  I think of the difficulties we endured to get him, and the great blessing that he is, and the faithfulness and grace and mercy of our loving Heavenly Father who saw us through the process, and blessed us with Austin.  He is the light in his mother and I’s life.

I look at the walls and give thanks that I have walls, and heat, and all of the comforts we take for granted.  I am sure I wouldn’t have to drive very far to find someone who does not have the basics of a home, let alone all these creature comforts.

I look at my feet, wrapped in the Indianapolis Colts / IU blanket my mother made for me two Christmases ago, and I think of my family and how blessed I am to be so loved, and how much I love all of them.

I realize how blessed I am and am amazed because, as blessed as I am, all of this pales in comparison to the great gift of God through Jesus Christ.  I am saved, and bathed in love, grace and mercy because of God’s great love for me.  I can trust the Lord with my very life.  He will never fail.  He will never abandon me.  He is all we truly need, for all good things are through Him, our Heavenly Father.

I can sit here and grumble about the cold, about my circumstances, about grievances or hurts or troubles or fears.  Or, I can look at the reality of my situation through the eyes of Truth:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8 (ESV).


“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed…’” – Matthew 5:2 (and the first word of 3) (ESV)

I am so excited!  This Saturday I will begin an earnest, long, deep study of the Sermon on the Mount.  I am gathering research material and preparing my heart to hear what God has to say in these three amazing chapters of Matthew.  The fact is that the core – the very heart and definition – of Christianity is contained in these passages.  I have always been intrigued by the structure of these chapters, how they build in blocks on one another (the Beatitudes forming a foundation to build upon).  I am quite eager to dig deeper.

Tonight, as I was reading John Wesley’s notes on the gospel of Matthew, something struck me.  He writes that “to bless men, to make men happy, was the great business for which our Lord came into the world” (Wesley’s Notes on the Bible, p.17).  In 1755, when Wesley wrote this, I’m not sure that happiness meant quite the same thing it does today, with our modern preoccupation with comfort. 

But Christ surely came to bless us with unspeakable joy and amazing grace and boundless love.  It is beautiful to find that Jesus began laying out the foundation of what it means to be a Christian by teaching us who is blessed (and, by implication, who is not – even though, by the world’s terms, it would appear Christ got it backwards).

Blessed indeed we all are who follow Jesus Christ.  Blessed in ways we cannot even imagine.  Blessed in ways the world cannot see.  Blessed in the truest sense of the word.

Sing to the LORD, all the earth!
   Tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
   his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
   and he is to be held in awe above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
   but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
   strength and joy are in his place. – 1 Chronicles 16:23-27 (ESV)