Winter 2011 Newsletter with Photos
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Winter 2011 Newsletter with Photos

Christmas has passed, and so has New Year’s Day, but the season of profound thanksgiving for Christ being born here on earth among us and the real opportunity for a sense of new beginnings are still very much present.  Here at the Skete and Mission Center it was snowing again today, and as a local farmer exclaimed so brightly today in Boscobel when asked about the snow, “It makes everything fresh and new!”  How true, how true, how true!

St. Isaac's blanketed in snow - Winter 2010/ 2011

 St. Isaac's - Winter 2010/ 2011

Surely, heavy snowfalls are inconvenient, and require time to shovel, clear, and for us to go to and fro, but when we stop for just a moment and focus on the innate beauty all around us after a serious snowstorm, there is again that sense of wonder when we are taken for a moment out of our normal daily expectations and see something truly unusual and breathtaking.  Beauty in each varied form brings us up from earth towards heaven, for all beauty truly comes from the Creator Who is Beauty Itself and undiminished.  When we stop for a moment and look, or listen, He is there behind each snowflake, and the light whereby we see, and the swelling sounds of music, and most of all in the immense fullness of vast silence which is His language of the world to come.  God is not limited by beauty, but is often revealed thereby to us.  All we have to do is notice.  It just takes a little glad attention.  Let us stop now for a minute and pray.

St. Nicholas Church - Winter 2010/ 2011

 St. Isaac's - Winter 2010/ 2011

Winter is such a wonderful season for many of the same reasons: it is beautiful when you stop to look, and listen, and notice the beauty around you.  It is quieter too, both outside and inside for each season has its rhythms and busyness.  And, yes, it is often more inconvenient, but maybe slower and harder aren’t really worse, if we use another yardstick to measure by.  When do we usually think about praying to God for help and feel more dependent on needing a Godly relationship but when things seem harder, more inconvenient, and not going our way?  When do we feel less self-sufficient (and less self-congratulatory too)when we have it under control, or when we don’t?   When are we willing to seek advice, assistance, and give others help in distresswhen we have emptied our bag of tricks and have nothing more to pull out, or when we still unconsciously feel we can manage by ourselves?

If our life is a preparation for an eternity of a loving totally dependent and illumined relationship with God and all those who have been sanctified by Him, what could be better practice than the times and seasons of less convenience, less self-reliance, and more heartfelt prayer?  It is not a worldly success story that we can brag about, for sure, but what will that matter on the last day of our life anyway?  So let us step back from the busyness of our daily lives, especially this winter, maybe right now, and look around us at the outward beauty of God’s creation and abundance in this winter season of nature.  Let us thank God for the times He gives to remember that He and His Love are the very purpose of every day’s activities in our lives, if we are looking for real meaning and approbation.  Let us, lastly, dive deeply into the silence and stillness of the early hours of each winter’s day, or the long moments of each winter’s night, to hear our hearts beat with the majestic quietude of the presence of God so full, that it fills all corners of creation, and every crevice of our mind and heart.  A blessed winter’s greeting to all.

To Skete Back Valley - Winter 2010/ 2011

 St. Isaac's - Winter 2010/ 2011


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