Maybe it’s the vitamin D deficiency. Maybe it’s being couped up in a house with 3 loud (and wonderful) children. Maybe it’s the cold and snow slowly wearing down my inner fortitude.

Or maybe it’s the constant barage of sad news. Maybe it’s learning of another mass shooting where 17 people were killed. Maybe it’s people constantly fighting on my Facebook feed without meaningful conversation.

What I do know is that winter, especially February and March, has a way of reminding me of emptiness.

If you are anything like me (or any normal person), you may bury yourself in busyness, or hobbies, or Netflix, or food, or exercise, or friends, or family, or sports, or something else as a coping mechanism, but that echo of emptiness seems to get louder as the winter months drag on. Just like springtime reminds us of life and joy, wintertime has a way of reminding us that this world is not perfect. It’s not right. There are things that are broken about it.

Sorry for being a debbie-downer (also, my apologies also to any Deborahs out there). I’m not trying to turn anyone into a pessimist.

I cannot be an optimist, because I know too much about sin and the brokenness of this world. However, I also cannot be a pessimist, because I’ve found hope. Not a flimsy everything-will-work-out hope, but a firm-confident-assurance hope.

I want to offer you the hope I’ve found. It’s not a magic hope that makes everything better. It doesn’t turn the winter into spring. It doesn’t stop the news from being depressing or the social media feed from being annoying. But it does provide light and hope in the middle of winter.

Our sin separates us from the God of hope, but Jesus can bring us back to him.

Jesus was the man of sorrows so that we could have joy.

Jesus received punishment so that we could receive peace.

Jesus became sin so that we could become children of God.

Jesus was broken so that we could be healed.

Jesus embraced God’s wrath so that we could embrace God’s love.

If you believe in that message, you have the God of hope.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13