This past week, we harvested a batch of chickens. Something really stood out to us: These birds had a lot of fat. We considered: Did they feed any differently? No. So what changed?
We then considered the sovereignty of God, and how He prepares critters for upcoming changes in weather and seasons. Did the chickens have more fat because a harsh winter is around the corner?
Horses will grow a thick undercoat in preparation of winter. Their eyes will detect the shortening of days, sending a signal to the brain to begin this growth of fur that will create a natural blanket. Dogs (that live outside) and other animals do the same.
Did you ever wonder how critters are out there surviving a cold winter, when we are snuggled inside our efficiently, heated homes, making sure we rarely experience temps under 65 degrees? Our home is magnificently heated, while deer and squirrels and other critters are out there in the woods, somehow surviving the cold snap the Weather Channel warned us about.
This led me to consider ancestral living and eating. I hear people say how much they hate the winter. What winter? We run from our heated homes to our heated cars, then into heated buildings, all the while wearing fashionable outerwear with clever names that sound like tactical clothing that could stop a blizzard.
Throughout most of human history, people ate and dressed and lived practically.
In the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore, there is a line that I never understood until we moved to the homestead: “And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.”
Do you wear a ’kerchief or a cap to bed?
If you are in bed in a homestead cabin, you are far removed from the fireplace. It is cold! A cap on your head, snuggled under a pile of quilts, makes for a cozy night of sleep in a very cold house.
In the book, “The Last of the Breed” by Louis L’Amour, the hero of the story, Joe Mack, is a test pilot who finds himself shot down in Siberia during the Cold War. He relies on his well-honed survival skills that came from his Native-American heritage in order to escape and avoid capture in a brutal wilderness.
As he is facing the intense winter cold of the Siberian back-country, he finds fortune when he discovers a bear not yet tucked away in winter hibernation. He hunts the bear, then feasts on the meat and the fat. He gorged himself in order to pack on the fat he would need to help him survive the cold.
There was a time when loose-fitting clothing was practical and normal. Men wore suspenders so their pants would stay up during the lean months. Body size was not a constant. Fattening up during harvest time was a demonstration of prosperity, of the favor of God. Think of this when you sit down at the table this Thanksgiving wearing your stretchy pants, and consider how God so beautifully provisions His creation for every upcoming season.
Remember Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (ESV).
Harsh days ahead? It’s OK. God is already preparing His creation.
To God be the glory!
Denny Dillman is benevolence pastor at Southeast’s Blankenbaker Campus.