Thursday, December 26, 2013


We're right in the midst of a change of seasons. Last Saturday, winter officially began, although many of us got an early start with several inches of snow and ice accumulations several weeks back. We're leaving out families' houses and headed home after Christmas, the end to yet another season. By tomorrow, it will be socially unacceptable to continue to say "Season's Greetings!" The season is over. And, well, for me, I'm closing out this season of my life. My last shift as a Unit 1 Chaplain Intern (I capitalize it to make it sound more official than it really is) ended ten days ago, and I've completed all the post-unit paperwork and organizing that I needed to take care of I am. Trying to figure out what this change of seasons brings.

The truth is that I kind of already know, and I'm wickedly excited for what is to come.

That's one of the things I love about life in seasons, as opposed to phases or stages or even moments. Seasons, with their own unique glories, are always preparing for the next thing to come. You're never left wondering what happens next. Not fully, anyway. There's some hint in this season of what's astir for the next one. In winter, the world lies dormant, germinating a new life for the season to come. Nobody worries about what March brings, when winter ends. Nobody cries over the last day of winter, for the first day of spring is right around the corner and with it, the promise of new life. Flowers blooming. Trees budding. Birds singing. And all this leads into the growth of the summer, where things shoot up toward the lingering sun. The world reaches its maturity in the longest of days only to bring us to the autumn and the harvest, where the earth gives back to us the very yield it's been working on since this day one year ago. And then it goes dormant, back into winter, where it starts breeding once more for the coming spring.

See, seasons lead seamlessly into one another. It's the beautiful wisdom of Creation. And it's the kind of thing I'll think about while I pack away the Christmas tree and all the decorations today.

Yes, today.

Some people might think that's a little too soon, that Jesus just came yesterday and can't I let it linger a little longer? I wish I could. To be honest with you, I feel like I missed a lot of Christmas this year. With my schedule being busier than it's been in perhaps forever, with everything just sort of changing as the seasons change, I kept finding myself suddenly taking a breath and realizing Christmas was coming. Five days...three days...two day....and then Christmas was here, and I swear I blinked and almost missed it. It was just that kind of year, and part of me wants to hold on a little longer. But you know what happens when you don't let go?

You miss the transition. You miss the subtle changing from one season to another. You miss what's unfolding right before your very eyes. You miss this thing that's happening now while you're holding on to what's already been. Then when you realize where you are again, it's too late. You missed the smooth way everything transformed. You miss the metamorphosis. You look up, and where once there was a caterpillar, now there is a butterfly and it's like you're living in a parallel universe. Because you don't know how you got here; you missed the journey. Life becomes this disconnected series of events. It becomes stages, instead of seasons.

When Jesus began His ministry and called His disciples, Peter and Andrew, James and John did not jump out of the boat and excitedly declare, "Hey! You're that kid who was born in a manger. Man, everyone was talking about that. Still are! That is so awesome!" No, they followed a maturing Jesus. Not stuck in the passed season of what He'd already done, they were free to witness, even to be a part of, the new thing He was doing, which flowed out of the manger and into the streets.

It's the same today. Jesus has come, and the season of anticipation has passed. The season of arrival has passed. Today, our Lord is here and if we hold on too long to His coming, we may miss out on where He's going. That's not a season I want to miss.

So I'll pack away the tree today and all the decorations. I'll let the Christmas season pass as it transforms into...whatever we want to call this new time. I'll embrace the change from autumn to winter, the harvest complete and my storehouses full for the season of regeneration, the quiet work of resetting and resoiling. I'll even let go of the incredible journey I have been on, in preparation for the new one beginning.

This has been a wonderful season - this Christmas, this winter, this journey - and I am grateful for the time. But it's all drawing me into the next big thing. It's the beautiful wisdom of Creation.

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