It is that time of year . . . . Indian Diwali, Celtic Samhain, Halloween, Christian All Saints, even the time change. All these holidays mark the change of season and the moving into a time when the trees are bare, the days are shorter, and the wind is colder. Having grown up many of my childhood years in Florida, I am not exactly a fan of Winter. I love the warmth, the sunshine, and the abundant green growth. But whether I like it or not, a new season is on the threshold.
With the help of the Celts and Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel, however, I beginning to appreciate this season in a new way. There are two understandings that both these ancient traditions share. First, they believe that day begins at sundown. It is the night when we rest, when we give up control of our actions and thoughts in sleep, and God works spinning the world on our behalf. I live this. I never go to bed wondering if the world will exists tomorrow; I trust that the sun will continue to rise and the world will be much as I left it when my eyes open. At night, God is in control. Day begins not with my “to do” lists or accomplishments, but in letting go and trusting in God’s sovereignty and love that keeps all on an even keel while I am not in control. Further, both traditions consider night or the dark season to be a “thin time,” a time when the veil between heaven and earth is not quite so vast and we humans have the opportunity to come just a bit closer to God. “Thin times” call us to listen to the wisdom God implanted in us at creation and the wisdom God is pouring into us, his beloved children.
So, this new season, while it may be a season of darkness, is also a season to be still, reflect, listen, and dwell with God. I hope this season I will pause when I am thinking I just need to hold on through this season of death and bareness until Spring arrives and instead embrace this season of listening and try to snuggle a little closer to the God of love.