Just like clockwork, it happened. Again. Last weekend, Daylight Savings Time ended, we returned to Standard Time, and where I live, it’s getting dark at 6:00. And just like clockwork, people around me are complaining about the dark and the cold.
I’m not going to defend the twice-yearly exercise of changing our clocks. But, it doesn’t require that much these days. My cell phone is my alarm clock, and it resets itself.
However, I do have to change the clock in my car. But the time change gives me the impetus to reset that clock which tends to gain a couple of minutes every few weeks.
But I wouldn’t protest if the powers that be decided to discontinue the practice. And my dogs would be happier. They’re ready to eat at 4:30 these days, and I have the audacity to make them wait until 5:30. Someone call the ASPCA!
Refusing to cooperate
No, my concern isn’t the clock. My issue is that we refuse to flow with seasons God has instituted.
Paul tells us to do all things without murmuring and complaining. And to give thanks in all things. It’s really hard to give thanks and grumble at the same time.
Did the Pumpkin Spice ripen early?
I will admit that I’m one of those strange people who enjoys Fall and Winter. But when a certain coffee retailer was advertising pumpkin spice in the middle of August this year, I determined that I would wait until at least the first day of Autumn to savor the delicacy. I’m sure they were devastated by my protest since I seldom drink their coffee anyway.
Merry Hallowthankmas? It happens like clockwork.
I saw a sign at one store declaring “Merry HallowThankMas”. But I didn’t find it that funny. It didn’t help that I was trying to locate supplies for my fire pit, and they were tucked away behind Christmas trees. In September.
A seasonal gift?
The changing of seasons is God’s idea. In fact, the cycle of the year is a sign of His faithfulness.
Seasons change like clockwork
When Noah and his family emerged from the Ark, God sent the rainbow and promised not to destroy the earth by water ever again. Then He declared “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter and day and night shall not cease.”
Seasons are a sign of God’s covenant as surely as the rainbow is. The writer of Ecclesiastes said, “There is an appropriate time for every matter under Heaven.” And again, “He has made everything appropriate in its time.” But we tend to push back against God’s timing. We don’t like to wait.
Refusing God’s timing
Regardless of our preferences, there are consequences for not waiting on God’s timing. Abram and Sarai had waited with studied patience for years for God to fulfill His promise. But there came a time when Sarai grew weary of waiting. So, she concocted a plan to hurry God’s promise.
Though her plan is shocking to our modern ears, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for the time and place Sarai lived. In a time before there were fertility clinics, slaves were often forced to act as surrogate mothers. And God had told Abram that the heir would come from his own body, but He didn’t mention who the mother would be. And He hadn’t said when.
In their urgency to move on to the next season of their lives and perhaps “help” God fulfill His promise, Abram and Sarai created more problems than they would ever imagine.
Don’t miss the joy!
I admit it. Bemoaning the colder days and longer nights of winter won’t likely create centuries of global conflict like Abram’s impatience did. But it is disobedience. And it can cause us to miss what God is teaching us in these moments. Plus, it can cause us to miss out on joy!
Bad attitudes are contagious!
Bad attitudes are as contagious as the flu. One person grumbles, and the rest are likely to join in the fray. We can let something like the time change steal our joy, or we can see God’s hand at work.
Have you ever made it to church early only to discover that the clocks changed and you didn’t? Or maybe you’ve gotten confused like I did this past week, and thought you had more daylight to walk the dogs, not less.
But, if instead of being frustrated, we laugh at our foibles, sleep in, and enjoy telling the funny stories later, we can change the whole atmosphere of a room.
But the choice is always ours.
It happens like clockwork
The same is true for seasons. The earth will continue to rotate whether I want it to or not. Long summer days will morph into shorter, cooler evenings of fiery fall. And autumn will fade into the longer, colder nights of winter. It’s how God designed the world. And He designed us to flow with the rest of creation. I don’t choose the season. But I choose how I respond.
What are some ways we can embrace God’s design and not waste our time wishing for what we don’t have right now?
Embracing God’s design
- First, decide not to grumble. Choose to see the beauty in each season. Choose to be content.
- Keep a journal. Find a nice notebook and pen. Or use the Notes app on your phone. Begin by writing one thing you are grateful for each day.
- Take a walk outside. If it’s summertime, you might need to wait until evening.
- Notice how creation responds to God’s timing.
- Ask God how you should respond.
- Breathe. Soon enough, the earth will move on to the next phase. It happens like clockwork.
October, November, and December seem to move at warp speed. Just at the time the days shorten, our to-do lists lengthen and it’s easy for life to get out of control. Parties, family gatherings, and special church services all demand our time.
Full speed ahead?
There have been years that my December has been so hectic that I barely remember the days leading up to Christmas.
Somehow, watching crazed shoppers battle it out for big screen televisions and the viral toy of the year doesn’t declare peace on earth and goodwill to man.
Is it possible to savor the Christmas season and to remember what we are celebrating? I think so. Here are some suggestions.
Learning to Love Christmas
- Be realistic. Sit down with your family and your calendar and decide which gatherings really matter to you. Then, write them down in ink. And learn to say a firm and gracious “no” to the others.
- Consider observing Advent this year. You can purchase an Advent wreath, or make your own.
- Find an Advent devotional and set aside time every week to reflect on why Jesus came.
- Bless someone who can’t bless you back. Purchase gifts for a family in need. Visit an elderly person who is alone most of the time.
- Get your friends and family together and go caroling. But what if you can’t sing? Just go and have fun.
- Plan a night to watch your favorite Christmas movies. Put on your favorite pajamas. Grab hot chocolate and enjoy.
Though it’s really hard to avoid the chaos of these winter months, we can prioritize what we want to enjoy.
Living like clockwork
Some people will never love winter. And that’s OK. I won’t ever relish heat and humidity in summer. But I can choose not to complain. I can choose to be grateful to the God who set it all in place.
The seasons will change, like clockwork. But God’s love never will. And that’s something to rejoice about. Rejoice in the Lord always. And again, I say rejoice!!