Learning to Love Seasons

I grew up in Mississippi, a place that has no clear seasons. Sure, sometimes it’s hot and wet or it’s cold and wet (though seldom in between). But often it’s both in the same day. When I had a paper route as a teenager, I’d have to bundle up for a 30 degree morning even as late as May, knowing that by Noon I’d be wearing short sleeves in order to welcome the 80 degree weather that came later. A typical December day is just as likely to be hot as it is likely to be cold. It’s difficult to say what’s “seasonable” in Mississippi. Granted, a summer day is mostly hot and a winter day is mostly cold, but seasons just run together in a blur, like God ran his finger across the calendar, smudging the months together. Which I guess is why I never grew up appreciating seasons.

Now I live in North Georgia. Here we have winter separate from autumn, and spring separate from summer. I love it. The leaves actually turn into all their beautiful colors as October rolls along (In MS it’s mostly pine trees, which don’t turn with the months). Cold days come when they’re supposed to. Hot days (mostly) come when they’re supposed to. I’m learning to love seasons. There’s something so beautiful about change at the appropriate time. Change, yes, but familiar change. Change that’s happened before, and will happen again every year about this time, and in much the same way. There’s something so comforting about that.

It’s the same way with a person’s spiritual life. We’re supposed to enjoy seasons. All living things go through cycles of up and down, cold and hot, wet and dry. Our spirits are no different. Life in the Church is no different. Of course, we live in a world that fails to grasp the beauty of seasons. We invented things like “climate control” to eliminate seasons where we live and work. We invented light bulbs to eliminate the difference between night and day. It’s no wonder we lose sight of the “rhythms of life” as they are called. We think in straight lines while Life moves in cycles. We would do well to stop and learn to appreciate seasons.

Take a church, for instance. There’s nothing more natural than a group of people taking a break from their usual routine of meetings to do something else. But even now as you read this something in the back of your mind starts to scream “NO! Don’t do it! Everything will be lost! You can never recover from something like that!” Why are we so afraid to embrace seasons? Sometimes the sap in the trees runs upward and outward, producing leaves and fruit and extending the branches. But then the sap reverses direction and goes inward and downward, to quietly build on the root system underneath the ground, where no one can see the difference. But without that time, the tree would never be able to grow beyond its current span. Both seasons are necessary. A person blinded by modernity will fail to grasp this, but it’s a natural part of life.

Variety is the spice of life, they say, and life in the Lord is no different. He works in seasons. Right now, in our church, we are enjoying just being together for the holidays. We’ll get together and sing some Christmas songs this weekend. Then we’ll break from meeting for a couple of weeks while several of us head to other states to visit familiy members. In fact, the last few weeks have been a kind of “slowing down” of activity in the church here. We won’t be having any special morning meetings or times together “with the Lord” (as if we could ever NOT be). But that’s not a problem. Relax and enjoy the variety. After two or three more weeks, we’ll be coming together again and refocusing our hearts and minds on the reason we exist in the first place (to know Him and love Him).

A tract of land cannot be farmed year after year, over and over again with no rest. Once in a while land must lie fallow. Soil needs time to regain its richness, its nutrients. Israel even had a law about taking a break from working the same field year after year. Land needs time to replenish itself. We are no different. So as a wise old man said one time:

Relax and enjoy it.

[P.S. Just a few days after this entry I read this entry written by a dear sister in Arlington TX who is showing us how the Lord carries his children through Winter. All I can say is I thank God for his tangible love through our brothers and sisters.]

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2 Responses to “Learning to Love Seasons”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Love it, Neil. Thanks.

  2. Ben Says:

    That is one of the best explanations of “rest” that I have ever heard. Thanks brother.

    I think I will relax and enjoy it the next time it comes around.

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