by Rev. John Farmer
Make this a season of rest
Have you unwound the brittle greenery and tossed it? Are the decorations put away? Did you get the ornaments off the tree? Were you careful to wind the lights in tangle-free loops? Did you make a biodegradable offering of the evergreen?
Or, like me, did you mash the tree back into a crate and deposit it in the belly of some closet? Eleven boxes of ornaments, await our teen neighbor Chris Cunningham’s youthful muscles, to be returned to our shed.
What about the Christmas cards? Did we ever really get through addressing them, or did we just quit? Have you finally taken the time to read all the cards and family newsletters which you received? Whose presents were leftover? I thought I checked my list.
Do holiday pounds sag upon your hips? Did that one last piece of treat lap over your belt as did mine? Have you actually gotten control and begun that after celebration diet about which so much conversation was invested?
Well, maybe It is nap time.
My wife likens Christmas to childbirth—a subject foreign enough to me, mind you. Hazel says that every woman going through the breech emphatically states that there’ll be no more…. But, when love is tender and another new life comes along, moms ignore that it will be through a threshold of pain. I am unqualified to make the analogy—though I profess to believe it is true.
I suspect the fatigue of the holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving, is that many of us harbor images historical, which may or may not be our actual history. We model habits, adjust taste buds, rearrange calendars to accommodate what we choose to highlight of the gathered friends, family and moments. It may just be after all that the artificial adjustment of our entire environment is what causes such stress.
The Bible recognizes that a lot of stress is because we get our priorities and ourselves out of whack. Read along with me, (Ecclesiastes 3:1-15): “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
“What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.
“I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.
“That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.”
The commercialization of Christmas that which stresses us so. It has been written that Christmas is an odd time, when the whole family gathers in their bed clothes to sit around a dead tree, eating out of their socks, making small talk about an old man who dresses in red velvet and communes with reindeer and elves?
Let us not dwell upon my alter ego, so lusciously draped in classic uniforms of old.
As I re-mine Ecclesiastes I am taken to task over how out of phase I am at all seasons. My prayer life often is in sad repair. My calendar at times has everything on it but time with God.
Winter can be our very best friend. Nothing out of doors really needs our attention yet. Obligatory visitations of others are less important than before. We, like all of nature need rest. A long winter’s nap; oh, I’ve already mentioned that!
We can invest our reading in the scriptures holy.
My late parents, who lived in a Corrotoman River cottage, Millenbeck, would devote tons of winter reading from seed catalogs and visions of gardens to be…
However, this will not be a season of rest unless we determine it to be so.
Pray with me that God can get a hold of us this winter so sufficiently that come spring, we bloom anew.