Winter is the long Sunday morning that saved children endure in white, starched attires, as they sit still in reverent prayer and worship. It is the long devotion under dimmed sunshine that filters through stained glass windows, under hushed voices, under the watchful eyes of the saints staring down from heaven, under the bloodied icons of the naked Jesus dying on the cross for their sins, under assurances that bucketfuls of Jesus’ blood will wash them whiter than snow but their blood from a skinned knee that tore the new church pants will cause Mom to yell.
It is the long visit in a chapel, where, instead of milk and cookies, it’s the holy blood and body of Christ that are served; where mothers who scream at bloodstains on clothes will want their children to “drink the blood” and “eat the body” of Christ. Winter is the stark contrast of children being burden with itchy, stiff, riches of clothing while Jesus is free to die with only a loin cloth wrapped around his middle.
Winter is the long, difficult time that children spend inside a building, trying to make sense of the adults’ God when the little children’s God is in the outside – in the sunshine, in joyous laughter, in the cool grass, in the little caterpillars and butterflies, in the fat worms under black dirt, in the juicy melons and strawberries, on the swings, on the slides, rolling down hills, splashing in puddles – where Jesus is patiently waiting for them to finish church.