The holiday season

Published 8:56 am Thursday, December 27, 2012

This is the holiday season. Christmas is over. The “New Year” is right around the corner. In college football the regular season is over, and the bowl season has already begun. Tax season begins sooner than any of us would like.

Some seasons in life are more difficult than others. The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut has forever changed the season for all involved. This year hurricane season is over, but will be remembered for decades because of the tragedy of Sandy. In the world the painful after effects of the Arab Spring continue, and daily the news bombards us with reports of disease and suffering. Winter has arrived and the flu season is already upon us.

Recently I was talking with one of our members recovering from an illness. He likened his long process of recovery to a sports season, with its routine of practices, and games, and days where he felt like a winner, and other days where he felt more like a loser. Every family and every relationship also goes through its seasons, times of incredible pride and joy, and times when life seems almost too painful to bear. Even here in Tryon, for some the holiday season is a joy; for others it is one of the most difficult times of the year.

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Life has many seasons.

In one of the more famous verses in the Bible the writer of Ecclesiastes asserts: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Faith tells us that every season of life has meaning, and that hope transcends even the grave, but sometimes meaning is scarce, and pain all too real. For many in today’s world hope is in short supply.

The New Year looks toward the future, and for people of faith, God’s future. That future is something no person can ever fully know, so we hope. By its nature the future is always yet to come, so we wait. Waiting can be hard. And recognizing God’s help when it does come is not always clear. Christmas and the birth of Jesus is a reminder that even the smallest events of life can have unexpected meaning, just as Easter reminds us that even the greatest tragedy is also gathered up into the loving arms of a God who knows us far better than we can ever know ourselves, and loves us more than we can ever imagine.

Each of our lives is like a work of art, created one day at a time. And every day is important. Howard Thurman, a prominent African American author, preacher, educator and civil rights leader once wrote:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

What is stirring in you this season?

~ Dent Davis, Pastor, Tryon Presbyterian Church