"Do your best to come before winter..."
Paul has several requests for Timothy, not the least of which is the command to preach the word, but one of his last requests is to bring his cloak, and to try and beat the cold. Since prisoners were obligated to provide for their own necessities it is the cold, dark winter for which he must prepare now. He writes, and waits for what he calls his departure, that is, his execution, and all have left him.
The Scriptures are unflinchingly honest about darkness. John 1 begins by telling us that Jesus came into a world as light for people who love the dark and want it darker still. Ministry in a world like that, faith in a world like that, will sometimes leave you cold. We may try to overlook that fact but the Bible does not. The honesty of Paul is good for us who wonder if we can participate in a story with such an improbably happy ending. Yet here Paul is clinging to both, improbably: it is cold, come soon, but also, grace be with you. May the unmerited favor of God rest on us as we shuffle toward the good news of the Kingdom of God, eyes wide open, hearts shot full of holes but still - incredibly - full, by the grace of God.