Winter can be a difficult season. The cold, dark days can make it hard to stay positive and keep our faith strong. However, the Bible has much to say about this chilly time of year. In this post, we’ll explore the biblical significance of winter and key lessons we can learn.
Winter often represents a dormant period. Nature grows still, animals hunker down, and people tend to stay inside where it’s warm. On the surface, it may seem like not much is happening during the winter months. However, God is still at work even when we can’t see it.
Winter can teach us to:
- Trust in God’s timing
- Embrace seasons of rest
- Prepare our hearts for spring
- Find joy in the little things
- Appreciate the warmth of community
As we study Scripture, we’ll reflect on these themes and how they apply to our lives today. Even in the darkest days of winter, God’s truth shines through and gives us hope.
Old Testament References to Winter
The Old Testament contains many references to the changing seasons, including winter. Back then, winter brought added hardship and danger. Without modern heating and insulation, it was challenging to stay warm. Frozen and muddy roads made travel difficult. Scarce food sources led to hunger.
Yet God faithfully led His people through the winters safely time and time again. Several passages emphasize God’s provision in the midst of cold temperatures and brutal storms.
“Have you entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?” (Job 38:22-23 NKJV)
Here, God reminds Job that He controls the weather – even extreme events like blizzards and hailstorms. The treasuries of snow and hail represent God’s divine storehouses, which He opens at appointed times according to His purposes.
Winter weather often represented God’s judgment and discipline in the Old Testament. But it could also display His protection and care for His people.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
Isaiah compares God’s Word to freezing rain and snow – water that nourishes the earth and enables crops to grow. So too will God’s Word bear fruit in our lives when we obey it. Even in the middle of winter, God provides what we need to flourish.
Several Old Testament passages also highlight God’s power over winter weather:
“For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.” (Job 37:6)
“He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes; He casts out His hail like morsels; who can stand before His cold? He sends out His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.” (Psalm 147:16-18)
These verses portray winter conditions as acts of God, under His complete control. Snow, frost, hail, and ice all obey God’s voice.
Overall, the Old Testament emphasizes God’s sovereignty in times of hardship and cold. He guides the changing seasons, protects His people, and reveals His glory through winter’s storms.
Winter Imagery in the New Testament
The New Testament also contains winter references, often employing winter scenes as metaphors and parables. Jesus Himself uses winter to teach important spiritual lessons.
In Matthew 24, Jesus describes the signs preceding His second coming:
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place … But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only … Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:32-44)
Here, Jesus contrasts summer and winter. When the fig branch turns tender and sprouts leaves, we recognize that summer is approaching. Likewise, we can discern the signs of Christ’s return. But we cannot predict the exact day or hour. Jesus urges us to be spiritually prepared, vigilant, and ready to meet Him at any time.
In another passage, Jesus emphasizes the urgency of doing God’s work:
“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5)
He compares His earthly ministry to daytime and the time after His ascension to nighttime when darkness will prevail in the world. During His time on earth, Jesus walked in the light of constant fellowship with the Father. After He returned to heaven, evil increased in the world. But one day, Christ will come again as the Morning Star, ending the long night of sin and restoring righteousness at His Second Coming (2 Peter 1:19).
There are some positive winter images in the New Testament as well. Jesus promises believers that His Holy Spirit will refresh and renew them like a cool drink on a hot day:
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)
The Holy Spirit first became available to indwell believers on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 2). Christians today benefit from the Spirit’s endless spiritual sustenance.
The Apostle Paul also employs winter metaphors to describe the hope we have in Christ:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:18-19)
Our pain now pales compared to the radiance ahead for believers in heaven. Creation awaits the coming day when God’s children will enter into our full, glorious inheritance.
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11-12)
Here, Paul depicts the Christian life as dawn approaching after a long, dark winter night. Salvation’s light will soon break. Therefore, we must wake up and make the most of this day, living in holiness and light.
The book of Revelation also hints at winter’s gloom turning to joy:
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
For believers, an eternal spring awaits where God Himself will dry our tears. What glorious hope we have in Christ!
5 Key Lessons from Biblical Winter Imagery
When we study the Bible’s many references to winter, several powerful themes emerge that we can apply to our lives today:
1. God is Sovereign Over All Seasons
Winters in biblical times were unpredictable and perilous. Yet God faithfully led His people through times of bitter cold and destitution, proving His might and care. Centuries later, the God who rules over winter is the same God who controls our lives. We can trust Him in difficult seasons.
2. Winter Represents Dormancy Before New Life
Plants go dormant in winter, appearing lifeless. But inside, changes prepare them to bloom again in spring. Our winters, though hard, can cultivate new growth if we draw close to God.
3. Use Times of Winter For Spiritual Reflection
Winter’s slower pace encourages looking inward. We can use this season to pray, study God’s Word, and realign our priorities. God may teach us new lessons in the quietness of winter.
4. Remember That Spring Always Follows Winter
No winter lasts forever. God promises His children eternal life in heaven where no pain or sorrow can touch us again. Until then, we can cling to the hope of brighter days ahead.
5. Let Your Light Shine Brighter in the Darkness
When skies turn gray, God calls His people to radiate His light all the more. Though winter brings gloom, the darkness is no match for the brilliant glory of Christ shining in and through us by the Holy Spirit’s power. We can make the most impact when conditions seem bleakest.
Winters will certainly come and go in our lives, both literally and figuratively. But we have a Savior who is Lord over every season. When we walk closely with God, we can experience joy and grow spiritually even in the depth of winter.
The next time you’re facing a personal winter, reflect on biblical truths about this season. Trust that spring will come again. And look for ways to let God’s light shine through the winter gloom. How might He want to use you to encourage others during cold, difficult times?
Winter has its place in God’s sovereign plan. May we learn its lessons well until we exchange the changing seasons for an eternal spring in heaven with our Savior.