The winter season can be a beautiful time of year. Beginning around Thanksgiving, the atmosphere of ushering in winter calls for warmth and intimacy.

People bundle up with extra layers of clothing. Lights glow brightly from homes decorated for festivity. Families gather around a warm fire and a lovely meal.

In some regions, blankets of snow decorate the landscape and clear night skies make moonlight almost as bright as day.

Yet, not everyone experiences winter this way. Days of shortened sunlight remove the natural light and warmth that comes with the summer days.

Cold and harsh weather reduce one’s desire to be outside. Even nature gives visual reminders of inactivity with trees absent of leaves, gray skies and many animals and insects hibernating.

The harshness of winter can amplify a feeling of isolation or add burdens to one’s motivation to be active. And while the soul calls out for hibernation and shelter, the value of duty to country pulls the body and mind of a Soldier to drive on. Just as the body aches for rest in such environments, so too the soul longs for relief.

It’s into the midst of such seasons that God enters. Though Christmas is but one day of the year, it falls during this winter season, offering a reason for great hope and peace. It serves as a reminder of God’s presence in the midst of loneliness and harsh circumstances. It serves as a sign of the “light that has come into the world” (John 3:19) continues to “shines in the darkness, [because] the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5).

Christmas serves as a celebration of God reaching out to bring us life in our slumber of sin and death. It serves as that thrill of hope in which our weary souls can rejoice.

Although Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25, it is not limited to one day, but serves as a constant reminder in any season of darkness, loneliness and slumber that God continues to reach out to us.

As we enter into the New Year, let us consider that whatever season our soul may be in, that God is reaching out to us. Whether dark seasons of depression and gloom, or joyful seasons of grace and festivity, God has come and offers the warmth of his presence and peace in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

How great and warm a thought that the creator of the universe cares for us and does not abandon us to our own affairs, but enters into even the darkest of our seasons to strengthen and to save us.