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The Seasons

Nov. 10th, 2017 | Rev. Don Underwood

I always enjoy “springing forward” more than “falling back.” It’s no problem for me to lose an hour of sleep, and no great advantage to gain an hour. I always anticipate the arrival of Daylight Savings Time like a kid waiting for Christmas. It means more time outdoors, as well as the arrival of warmer temperatures and the spring resurrection of the earth.

Falling back is another matter. I found myself on Monday night putting out hay in the darkness and the cold. Lumbering around on my John Deere with a 2,000-pound round bale, I tried my best to see undulations and swales in the ground ahead that have the capacity to upturn a mid-sized utility tractor. Two days earlier I would have at least had enough twilight to make things easier. The wind roared out of the north, causing me to regret not throwing on a base layer. In addition to these thoughts, there were darker ones: the frigid winter ahead, ever shorter days, the earth turning barren and brown, the seed buried in the earth rather than rising from the earth, the wheel of time turning towards the winter solstice and the darkest day, the cycle of life reflected in the passing of the seasons.

I have become convinced that the life of faith urges us to embrace all the seasons, even the ones that are not intuitively joyful. One might say this insight grows out of my existential consciousness of heading into my personal fourth quarter, and one might be right. But I would also argue that the story of Jesus, from birth to tomb to resurrection, reflects the great Creation drama that is enacted by the marching of the seasons. It is easy enough to celebrate the eruption of color and life that comes with spring; it is more challenging to celebrate the incubation of life that takes place in the darkness of the ground. But that is what faith calls us to: the unyielding conviction that God moves us, in every season, toward life and not death.

Perhaps that is why we in the northern hemisphere celebrate the most glorious birth of all only four days after the winter solstice. Why we use phrases like “a kid waiting for Christmas.” It is our unrelenting proclamation that, even in the midst of winter, we can perceive the remarkable truth that the final Word is birth, not death. In all seasons, Resurrection triumphs.