26 December 2009

Yikes! Yuck! or Yippee! ...ramblings about Seasons - mine and the Church's

I was thinking this morning about some things I don’t know a lot about. Which is not difficult since I know a lot about so little and so little about a lot. But I was thinking about seasons – both in life and in our journey with God.

I guess what got me thinking was the season in our lives with children. Zach, off pursuing his own life’s journey and career in Northern Virginia, is his own man and at 29 is making his own way. Consequently, he was not in Valdosta, Georgia or Pensacola, Florida for Christmas. And in his 29 years, this is only the second one where he was not with Phyllis and me. Even when he was in university in the States and we were in Cyprus, we always sacrificed, scrimped and saved and were together. We either flew him to Cyprus, or (after Jane was here in the States) flew to Valdosta.

It was odd not having him here. There was a certain hole in my heart. Can’t really explain it.

And then there’s Jane. She and Mike are engaged and will be married 27 March 2010. So we spent Christmas Eve and Day together in Pensacola, Florida where we sometimes live (another story, right?) and where Mike and Jane have jobs. So because of holiday schedules, we stayed in Pensacola. Adding Mike is indication of a new season.  A good addition, but a new ingredient. (Sorry - i mix metaphors.)

Lots of food, fun, festivity, movies, church services, carols, communion and more food. A new season in our lives. (Should I say Yikes! or Yuck! or Yippee! Yikes! conveys surprise while Yuck! conveys displeasure and Yippee! conveys excitement… okay this morning it’s a mixture of all.)

So here’s the tie-in (and what I was thinking through in my devotional time)…

In the medieval church, which was always about seasons, feasts and festivals, Advent and Christmas began Candlemasa new season. Advent (beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day) is about hope and anticipation. Christmas and the following days are about celebration and incarnation. Christ has come! Emmanuel! God is with us!

But then begins another season (correct me if I’m wrong) which culminates with Candlemas on 2 February. This celebrates with lots of lights (candles!) the presentation of Jesus at the Temple described in LUKE 2:22-38. It’s kind of a “missions thing,” because it uses candles to celebrate Jesus as the “light to the Gentiles.” (LUK 2:32). Jesus and Gentiles!

And in the middle of this season – the journey from Christmas (manger/Bethlehem) to Candlemas, (Temple/Jerusalem) – comes Epiphany (6 January) a feast day marking the visit of the Wise Men (Magi) to the Christ Child. The word “epiphany” means “to make known” or “to reveal” revelation and the element tying the two celebrations together is “revelation.”

At Christmas, Jesus is revealed as the Word in human form! Word become flesh (JOH 1:14) tabernacle-ing among us. That’s incarnation. But then in the midst of this is revelation to the Gentiles – the Magi – and Simeon and Anna at the Temple.

And I’m pretty sure that Joseph and Mary were a little overwhelmed at the new Season they were entering in their simple village life.

To everything there is a season:

Advent (anticipation)

Christmas (birth/incarnation/celebration) 

Epiphany (gifts/revelation)

Candlemas (light/recognition/celebration)

So I ramble on. Seasons are important, I guess.

But right now, I’m celebratin’, anticipatin’, working and believing to be incarnatin’ the grand Revelation of God with us! Jesus Himself!

Looking for greater gifts and revelation in 2010!

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