The first day of winter was Dec. 21.
Growing up most of my early years in Minnesota, I always wondered about that. Winter often started in early November, and at least by Thanksgiving. You didn’t run outside for very long without coat, hat, scarf, mittens, and two pairs of jeans–and boots. Back in the day, they were rubber boots you wore over your shoes, with “fur” trim around the top, and they zipped up the front.
Anyway, Christmas day here started quite warm, a little damp, and a bit windy. By the time we were ready to drive home, the temperature had plummeted about 30 degrees, it was VERY windy, and we had some of the stinging tiny little snow granules that never stick, but they tell you more is coming!
We’ve had mild winters for the last 3-4 years, with very little snow. Some people say that means we’re in for a lot more this year. We’ll see.
Terry keeps a very close eye on our oil-burning stove that sits in front of the fireplace in our living room, but he’s been involved with some other projects that distracted him. We ran out of oil yesterday, and the house was cold! Now, I like sleeping in a cold room, with my weighted blanket and a comforter piled on top of me. But I don’t enjoy being in a cold house, all for the want of some oil.
I couldn’t help wondering what it’s going to be like if Mr. Biden keeps his promise to shut down the fossil fuel industry in America. What will we have to pay to keep our houses warm? Ours is just a small house, really, and we usually keep the doors to the bedrooms closed during the cold weather. In any event, I’m wondering if I’m going to be wearing multiple layers of clothing inside the house this winter, and I really feel for those who live in houses that are not well-insulated or have high ceilings and older windows. We’re all going to be wearing sweaters and sweatshirts and quilted flannel!
Oil has always been an important commodity. From earliest times, it has been used for light and cooking. Scented oils have had a very high value and were available only to the wealthy.
Matthew 25 tells us the story of the ten young women who were waiting for a wedding to commence. They carried lamps that were filled with oil, probably olive oil. There were wicks in the lamps, and the oil was consumed as the wicks were burned. Those who had not thought to bring extra oil were considered foolish. But those who had a vessel filled with extra oil were wise, and were allowed in to attend the wedding.
The picture is simple: We are the lamps, useless until we are filled with oil. The Holy Spirit is the oil, which gives off a pleasant odor. The Holy Spirit in us helps shed the light of salvation and God’s love to those around us. The light comes from the oil-soaked wick, which is our testimony, through the Holy Spirit, to those around us. In order for our lamps to continue to burn, we need to have access to the Holy Spirit; that access is gained through obedience to the Father, expressed so clearly by Jesus. Being filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit is not automatic at salvation. Our obedience determines how full our lamps are, and how brightly they will burn.
Do you remember singing “Give Me Oil in My Lamp, Keep me Burning”? I do, but I never understood what it really meant. There is an important lesson for kids, and for everyone, really, if the meaning is taught clearly along with the song. If we want to burn brightly for the Lord, we need to be obedient to His Word. Being obedient will keep the oil of the Holy Spirit refreshed in our lamps, and our lights will burn clearly.