Blog: November 2022 - Seasons and Slowing Down
I am fortunate that my study overlooks our garden. As I work, I can gaze out of the window and marvel at the colours of creation. How God’s palette changes with the seasons. The gradual turning of the leaves from the bright green of early spring to the deeper greens of summer, to, as I write this, infinitely varied autumn hues of yellow, gold and red, which will soon disappear as nature prepares for the long sleep of winter.
In church we reflect the seasonality of God’s creation with a seasonality of our own. “Ordinary Time”, which started back in early June, is coming to an end. The green vestments which marked that long season will be replaced briefly with white (just for All Saints Day on 1st November) then red for three Sundays of “Kingdom Season” before Advent purple for the last four Sundays before Christmas.
And it is not just Church and nature changing colours at this time of year. TV producers move from the multicoloured hues of summer to Halloween orange, Remembrance red poppies, and very soon to a Yuletide palette of deep reds, greens, glittering gold, sparkling silver, and fake snow. Very soon advertisers will start hurrying us through the perfect preparations for the upcoming festival of family and feasting, tinsel and turkey.
I love the anticipation of Christmas – the secular as well as the religious, but I wonder whether pressure to begin preparing hurriedly in early November can leave us approaching the big day exhausted. Paradoxically, the hustle and bustle of a November and December of preparation can leave us completely unprepared, physically or emotionally, to welcome family and friends for Christmas festivities.
In Church however, we are encouraged to slow down. Advent is a time of patient waiting for Christ’s birth rather than panicked preparation. So, this November, as we line up on the start line for the Olympic sprint to the secular Christmas, I wonder if we should build some ‘time out’ into our plans. A rest stop in the race, time to be ourselves and time to be with God as we await his coming as the Christ child on Christmas Day.
Perhaps this Advent you might like to take some time out from the world’s busyness to join a group of us as we break for a couple of hours each week, to share food, friendship and discussion, as we explore faith together on our Advent Course. Or perhaps you might like to join us at our quiet mid-week communion services on Wednesdays. Time out for you, time out with God. Time to approach Christmas with faith and expectation, rather than fatigue and exhaustion.
Our Advent Course is on Thursday lunchtimes for 5 weeks from 17th November at The Chequers, Keysoe. Full details of times and locations are here. All welcome!