Sleeping in a Cold Bed

As winter slowly creeps in and Christmas approaches, warm memories of cold winter nights in my family’s small green house make me smile. Our house was heated by a single gas furnace in our living room. Its fiery glow stirred my young imagination as I gazed at it often from the living room floor, mesmerized by the rich orange, red and yellow colors depending on the heat needed.

While our living room was warm and toasty, a short walk down our hallway into our corner bedroom brought shivers on those cold, windy winter nights. I remember climbing into the one of the two beds in the room that at one time I shared with my three brothers. The bed was icy cold, and I shook as I lay down. But Mom would put extra covers on each bed, and pulling the covers up to my chin, I quickly warmed up and drifted off to a deep, peaceful sleep. The picture is of the bedroom I grew up in.

In December, after our Christmas tree was up in our living room, I remember peering over my covers into the hallway leading back up to the living room and seeing the reflection on the walls of the multi-colored lights of the Christmas tree. As my bed warmed up, the anticipation of Christmas, of presents, of seeing relatives, playing games, eating great food, all blended in a joy-filled moment, a small slice of eternity that warmed me more than any blanket. 

What is it about a cold bed made warm by your own body heat and thick blankets that elicit such peace and joy? How I miss those times of utter peace, rich rest, and contentment. Today, I rarely sleep through the night. I go to bed in my warm bed through central heat and our fireplace insert, and wrestle with the Lord about worries, regrets, fears and stresses. I wake up two to four times each night to go to the bathroom, returning to my warm bed but many times finding it hard to return to sleep.

My wife keeps asking me what I want for Christmas. As I ponder about it, what I would really like is a return to the days of the cold bed and warm blankets, where worries and frets vanished like the vapor on a morning cup of coffee, and rich, deep sleep ended each day. For Christmas I want to return to the first Christmas, where the Son of God lay as a baby in a rugged manger, most likely cold on the surface, but wrapped warmly in swaddling blankets, sleeping in deep, abiding peace. That same Savior years later woken by panicking followers in a boat ravished by a storm. He was able to sleep during the storm in deep peace much like he did in that manger.

May my later years in life go back to the simple trust and joy of knowing I am safe in my Savior’s arms, that He loves me and leads me each day, and that at night I can enter His warm blanketed embrace as I share my worries, struggles, fears, and regrets, leaving them gently with Him as I rest in His grace. 

That would be a most wonderful Christmas gift!


Steve Johnson

Great thoughts and memories Greg! Yes, the return to simplicity in thought, desires and concerns is desirable. If we can “turn our eyes upward” this can be possible. It has to deliberate otherwise the enemy will always distract us with his lies and chaff.

Roberta Potter

Greg, I always love reading your writings. You bring a lot of my memories back to me. I also slept in a cold bedroom. But you know, I can’t ever remember being cold, or hot. We had no air conditioner. I grew up my first young years, in a little, 3 room log cabin. Where, my parents built a new house. One room of that cabin house, is still standing down the road on, Raley creek. I didn’t realize, how small it was, until I went there a few years ago. Love my memories of my life on the creek.
Thanks, Greg!

George D King

I too had a cold bedroom with cold sheets my grandma washed once a week and hung on the clothesline in her side tard. My bedroom was upstairs far away from the Kean Heater stove downstairs in her living room. I remember the tree limb scraping the window as the wind ‘howled’ outside. At least, I thought it howled.
I would love to return to those times, but my mind always turns to some kid somewhere really freezing in the cold hungry, and maybe afraid.
You did your usual great job of taking me with you in your little episode.
All we can do is share as much as we can and pray for those who need our Savior’s presence.

Michael Musgrove

Fantastic story, brother. My favorite part is when you called the anticipation of all the things listed “a small slice of eternity that warmed me more than any blanket.” It helps me as I am thinking about what we Christians are called to anticipate during Advent, and how our experiences of this anticipation relate.

Judith Johnson

Great story again! Love your stories!

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