As I sit here in my office early on this Tuesday morning my window looks out towards the house and behind it the eastern sky is starting to lighten up. It’s quite beautiful and amazing.
I notice some dark moving shadows near the house and I look up to get a better view. It looks like there are about eight Mule deer having a munch on grass and mingling around.
Beautiful, graceful animals. Mostly small and maybe not even a year old. They are preparing for winter, searching for the choice foods they will need to build up their strength I imagine. Then just as suddenly as they arrived, they leave. The smallest one lagging behind.
The rhythms of life are intricately connected here on this earth, and they feel even more tied together here in this field. Winter is coming, so preparations are being made. Equipment is being placed into storage, poultry are being sent to market, cattle are being shipped or moved to winter homes. And the land is allowed to rest.
Rest. Hibernation. Winter brings that to us in different ways, at least here on the Canadian prairies. We are forced by the coming rhythm of winter, to change gears, downshift, conserve energy, rest. And that is a good thing.
I don’t know who we would be if we didn’t have winter. I suspect choosing to rest if it wasn’t forced upon us might be difficult. Rest might even be seen as a weakness, and if our neighbours didn’t rest, then probably neither would we.
So we are forced, by the plans of God and the grace of the land, to rest. If we decide not to slow down, then that’s our choice. Sometimes the land and the rhythms of life God has given us, are smarter than we are, and if we are teachable we will learn a thing or two about seasons of rest.
Learning to live well in that balance is a secret to life that not all people understand. Whether you are a high stakes banker living in the glass towers of the big city, or a farmer working the land. There are things about the balanced life that we need to learn, so that our lives too will be blessed in ways that give us life.
The season of Advent does that for us too. Its a season in the Christian church when we pause to consider and remember the coming of Christ so many years ago, and to remind one another that he is coming again, triumphantly.
It's all too easy to get caught up in the rush and madness of trying to meet this worlds Christmas expectations. Then, just as the Christmas rush begins, Advent comes and reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas. We are reminded that Christ came into this world, not to visit, but to become one of us. To put on skin and show us what love really means.
That's what Advent and Christmas is all about.
Its a time to shift gears and slow down, to remember what is important in this Christmas season.
So take some time this Advent to consider what Christ has done for you, and how you need to respond and live.