by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, October 2014

Seasons change. We have enjoyed the changing of the seasons here in Middle Georgia. The leaves are falling and so are the temps. The orange of fall with lovely pumpkins matches the orange of the Mercer Bears. Neighbors are lighting fire pits and shopping for holiday treats; it’s time to prepare for a new season.

November is the time that marks a transition from fall festivities to the family holiday traditions. We are closer to Thanksgiving when we gather and name the blessings of the year. Next, Black Friday shopping, Christmas parties, and live nativities add excitement to this season. The days seem to pile in quickly after that point with the many holiday events; the full calendar can seem to fuel up the pace until this season feels like lightning speed. Before you know it, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will have passed and you may find yourself firmly in the calendar year 2015, still writing 2014 on your checks.

Don’t let the time slip past without reflection.

In the church, one of the ways that we reflect about time is by celebrating the Christian year. This cycle of texts and liturgies guides our life together in worship. It is unlike any other calendar that guides your life. Hallmark has a calendar of “holy” days that we mark on the calendar. If you look closely, there is a card for every occasion. Fiscal years help business and corporations plan effectively for their financial health. Some are January to December, like our calendar year, but often they are July - June. The Christian year, our calendar of worship, is a cycle that follows the life of Jesus. The days of the Christian year focus on Jesus’ teaching and reflect upon his death and resurrection. The Christian year marks the passing of time by telling and retelling the story of God’s redemption of the world from the birth of Jesus to the birth of the church. We need these days to remind us of the true story that shapes our lives.

November 23, Christ the King Sunday, celebrates the end of the present season of Ordinary Time and the beginning of Advent the following Sunday. It is, in the Christian year, the end of the year. This day, that marks the passing of one year to another, makes a claim: at the end of it all, Christ is King. What if you used this day to set your spiritual resolutions for the next year? What goals do you have for yourself spiritually? Will you commit to worship more frequently? Will you give more faithfully? Will you commit to growing in Christian study and in serving the least of these?
This season can be time to take stock and consider your spiritual resolutions as we begin to prepare for the coming Christ child next month.