Dear friends,

My morning routine includes opening the shades on my patio door to greet the new day before I go through the remaining routine tasks. But on this particular day, instead of rushing and turning away to continue my routine, I found myself pausing for a moment to marvel at the beauty of God’s creation.

I noticed the evergreens standing tall with a fresh layer of snow on their branches. I noticed a fresh, untouched blanket of snow on the yard, in its cold and peaceful glory. I observed the sun attempting to shine its warmth through the clouds.

And on this particular day, I paused - realizing that as much as I tend to focus on the cold winter weather and the challenges it brings, I’m thankful for the moments when winter’s striking beauty causes me to pause in wonder of God’s creation.

One of my favorite things to do during a snowstorm is to take a walk or at least stand outside to experience the wonder of the falling snow; to revel in the beautiful silence that the storm brings. It is almost like the whole of creation is taking a pause.

And by the way, the snow can be pretty peaceful, especially if you do not have to venture out in it! Like this morning’s winter view out my patio door - nature in its peaceful glory.

Consider Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God." Where do we find stillness and peace in our lives? Where are those quiet places that we turn to when our lives are noisy?

It’s not news to any of us that it can be very difficult to find places of peace and quiet in our busy lives. Places where our hearts, minds and souls cause us to pause for rest and reflection.

For me, during those times, I am reminded of God’s presence, love, care and faithfulness in the midst of the noise - and that I am not alone on this journey of life. I am reminded that God is the source and creator of all. In those moments I give a prayer of thanks as I listen to God who is present and alive in my life and in creation. God is present for each and every one of us - always.

This is good news for us as we continue to walk into this new year and new decade. "Be still, and know that I am God." These are words of promise, love and hope in the midst of the noise, fear and uncertainty of daily life. What a wonderful promise for us to rest in, and place hope into.

In that promise we can see God, who continually calls us into daily partnership. One who calls us to a lively response to His call to be beacons of light and love. One who empowers us by grace to be and embody His love, light and hope.

We will see the One who opens our eyes, ears and hearts, and comes to dwell and tent among your life, my life and all of His creation.

"Be still, and know that I am God!"

Kari Williamson is associate pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.