Father Eugene Hemrick

The canticle of Daniel tells the “cold and chill” to “bless the Lord” and “ice and snow, bless the Lord.”

We bless God’s creation, no doubt, but the lines in the canticle that say, “Sun and moon, bless the Lord” are more to our liking, especially for those of us enduring one of the most brutal winters this year.

In some parts of the country, the winter of 2014 has caused untold hardships that include sky-high heating bills, road and sidewalk accidents, and school and business closings.

When William Shakespeare used the expression “winter of life” in “Macbeth,” he used the words to symbolize life’s dark side. And when Victor Hugo said that “laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face,” likewise, he was painting winter’s dreariness.

It is true that sunlight in winter is scarce, often causing bone-chilling gray days and discomfort for those of us who live in places that experience the four seasons.

There is the saying that a glass may be seen as half full or half empty, depending on how you choose to envision it. When we picture winter as a glass half full, its charms can far outweigh the gray skies.

So, I’ve thought about what those who choose to see winter’s charm have said in its praise.

I recently read a publication in which country singer Taylor Swift says, “I love the scents of winter! For me, it’s all about the feeling you get when you smell pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread and spruce.”

I might add, “A large bowl of hot chili con carne never tastes better than on a cold winter day.” Hearty weather adds heartiness to our food.

Tom Allen, U.S. representative from the state of Maine, which sees its share of cold weather, confesses: “While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best.”

My mother would share in this sentiment. Living in Chicago in the winter, she repeatedly encouraged us to get outdoors because she said it “made a man” out of us. And I can add that you had to be a “man” to brave the wind whipping off Lake Michigan.

The sound wisdom of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov gives us a marvelous way to cope with winter, “People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”

That’s true. Some of the happiest moments in my childhood were making snowmen, sledding and having snowball fights.

Actress Rebecca Ferguson depicts yet another side of winter’s brightness in saying, “I love hats and winter is the perfect time for them. I love wintertime fashion.”

If you ever feel down by the weather, take a second look at winter clothes. Often their colors and designs are a thing of beauty to behold, and there may be some favorite items you won’t be able to wear except in winter.

Winter, most of all, is a time to wonder why God created four seasons. We know that he does everything for our good. One way to grasp that goodness is to fall in love with winter by seeing its bright side.