Its quite a mouthful of a word, even when one is fluent in the german language. Perhaps that is appropriate because in this tiny word, there is so much to be found- so much wonder squeezed into those 13 letters. Although we don’t have a word quite like it in English, in german it means, “a space or situation that is warm and cozy, that induces a cheerful mood and peace of mind without a need to hurry or worry, and with a connotation of belonging and social acceptance.” It sounds a lot like Home, doesn’t it?
In the winter months especially, this warm and cozy atmosphere is sought out and crafted in Germany, as well as the Scandinavian countries nearby that are also so skilled at how to bear harsh winters. Candles are lit, fires crackle in the hearth, tea kettles whistle often and families recreate indoors, intentionally, together and with cheer. Its as if the entire culture has recognized that to survive the months ahead, they must light a candle in their darkness, cultivate beauty and seek out meaningful community. They know warmth must be made, rest must be had, and that they ought not to be alone.
I want that for my family this winter.
In North America, however, we are pretty horrible at resting. We are a people of extremes, in work and play- we struggle to hold both at once. It’s difficult for us to slow down and to cease striving.
And yet, in myself I can feel in my very bones a crying out for sleep, for rest, for renewal. Do you feel it too? I long for the newness promised in the Spring and look eagerly toward Easter, but I find it hard to allow a season that is fallow to have any place in my life. The thing is? Without rest, nothing great is going to grow. Without that time underground, soaking up nutrients, building strength in the dark, those bulbs planted in the fall are never going to burst forth as glorious daffodils. Quiet seasons of intentionally investing in our inner life matter greatly. They bear beautiful blossoms in due time.
If I want my life to bear beauty, I have to trust that seasons of quiet are beautiful too. I can take a deep breath and go slow, knowing that this season holds great purpose. Not only that, but the warmth and coziness found here, in this place of resting, may be the very thing that stretches my soul to trust God with all I have. When I rest, I have to trust!
That the world isn’t going to fall apart without me.
That the work will all get done… And if it doesn’t that’s ok.
That my time with my family is more urgent than the requests buzzing from my phone.
That God will provide all our needs.
“There remains then a Sabbath Rest for the people of God”
He lights the candle of mid winter, he warms our hearts and homes in quiet seasons. I want my children to see a mother who rests joyfully so they too can embrace the rhythms God has given in nature and in the seasons of the heart long after they leave home.
Learning to go slow is an art, but it’s one that we’re learning together as a family this winter- and we’re embracing a bit of “Gemütlichkeit” too- because the glow indoors, as we’re tucked in by the weather, are soon to be replaced by the bustle of days shining outside.
Hoping this winter is full of purposeful cozy in your home too,