Over the last several years, we developed a Christmas Eve tradition of watching a movie called Seasons of the Heart. The movie’s plot follows Jed and Martha Richards after they have settled in Oregon in 1862. Along the wagon train, their two young daughters died suddenly and quickly from cholera. The movie begins with the pastor delivering to them an orphaned boy named Daniel to care for. Even though it is late summer or early fall at the start of the movie, winter has settled into Martha’s heart as she has shut out God, her husband and now Daniel. Martha does not love or understand the spirited young boy, especially when she compares him to her two daughters. As Christmas approaches, Martha’s heart is truly revealed as she declares that she does not want to celebrate Jesus’ birthday since he has done nothing for them. Then, on Christmas Eve, a new season dawns in Martha’s heart after an unexpected encounter with Daniel.
How do we live during the winter season? We usually hunker down in our homes, trying to keep the outside cold from invading our warm homes. Yet, a winter season of the heart appears to be the opposite – the coldness in our hearts can prevent the outside warmth from coming in. So how do we open the door to allow the warmth into our hearts? Is it a matter of perspective? Does God still love us when we don’t feel it? Is God with us when we feel all alone? Is God still in control when life’s circumstances appear to be random and happenstance? I believe the answer to these last three questions is “Yes!” because His Word says:
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deu 31:6)
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Heb 13:5-6).
So, I pray along with Job that in my desire to understand and explain my circumstances that I do not narrow God down to the image that I think He should be:
Then Job answered the LORD, and said, “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. [God said] ‘Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?’ therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. [God said] ‘Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.’ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6, [explanatory and quotation marks added by me])
What season is your heart in? Sometimes, I feel like winter in mine and sometimes I get a glimpse of spring. I believe my focus can determine my season. When I focus on God, His Word and His promises, then it feels like spring. When I focus on my circumstances and lack of human understanding, then it feels like winter. And some days I just wake up and feel one way or the other for no apparent reason.
I recommend Seasons of the Heart as a family friendly movie. I especially recommend it to anyone who is grieving, especially the death of a child. There is no sex, violence or inappropriate language. The scenes mainly consist of dialogue between the characters. If you would like to read more about the movie, click here.