I hate winter. I’m old and my blood is thin.  My feet and my hands stay cold all the time.  Not only that but my hands get dry and the skin cracks and the cracks bleed. It’s gross and it demands that I borrow hand lotion from my wife. I’m not sure if I hate winter or hand lotion more.

At least the lotion is endorsed by Swedish fisherman. You can’t help but feel like a girl when you lotion up – it’s kind of like ChapStick (everyone knows if any man uses ChapStick they automatically lose their man card). So because of these things I hate winter.

I saw on my calendar Ground Hog Day is coming up next month.  Yahoo! Maybe winter is almost over.

One of my favorite movies is “Groundhog Day.” It is about a local newsman covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney and he finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. After some sinful behavior he starts to examine his life and his priorities.

Maybe more of us should live out Groundhog Day. I would like to think that there are times we wish we had a “do-over.” Times that we were not gracious towards others and we wish we would have said something encouraging or reassuring instead of being borderline rude and obnoxious.

I have a friend who I love a lot. He is a gentle soul who I learn from and recently he presented himself as a perfect example of grace. I was there when he was having a conversation with a woman who had no clue about what she was talking about. She remained persistent in her belief that she was right but my friend was equally persistent and consistent in being kind, gentle and patient.

What if we exchanged being right for being gracious? What if we intentionally let others be wrong instead of making sure they knew we were right?

Maybe I hate winter because it reminds me of the coldness of people’s hearts. They say, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”  (Luke 6:45) Hence the phrase, “Cold hearted,” right?!  

There is a place on the north side of town that only serves chicken and their employees always say, “My pleasure.” Now, that’s kind of corny but they always sound like they mean it. Those are words of grace like, “Please, thank you and I’m sorry.” This restaurant must have a great training program that maybe should become a federal mandate for all people to be enrolled in with a requirement for continued education hours. This “chicken only” place is one of my favorites in part because of their gracious attitude towards people – it is unlike other places that serve good food at a fair price but they pretend to be doing you a favor by taking your order and serving your food. Grace is not on the menu at these places I guess.

So I hate winter, love chicken and want to be gracious towards everyone I meet.


Ken Ansell is the pastor of Community Life Church in Waxahachie.