And the Preacher wrote, “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under Heaven.”
There is a sense of rhythm to the changing of the seasons. At this time of year, the changing of the colors of the leaves, the chill in the morning, the southward migration of the birds, and the loss of sunlight tells us that winter is approaching.
It took humankind a long time to understand this rhythm. The “medicine wheels” of the high Northern plains, the stone circles at Stonehenge and the similar wooden circles in Germany, the intricate calendars of the Mayan civilization were, as it were, not created overnight but only after many years of study. Someone or a group of people saw the changes in the Sun, the moon, and the stars and began tracking and studying those movements. And from their observations and studies came the ability to begin planning for the special days in their lives. And remember, it was that study of the skies and the movement of the stars that led the Magi to the Christ-child.
But it takes time to do such studies, it takes time to detect the rhythm. It is very hard to do so in an environment where things are rushed. In a world where the “sound bite” rules, we are not prepared for lengthy and deep discussions concerning the world around us. In these times, we find ourselves listening to false prophets pass on false, misleading, and incorrect information.
But there were and are true prophets, prophets who speak not for themselves but for the people. They do not tell the people what to think or who to listen to; they point to the signs and say, “Look and listen!”.
This Sunday, look carefully at the altar. See that it is clothed in green, the color for me that symbolizes growth. Over the next six weeks, watch as it changes from green to white on November 21st to mark the end of the church calendar year. And look as the altar colors change from white to purple on November 28th. When we see this change at this time of year, we know that the Season of Advent is approaching.
Advent is the season of preparing for the coming of Christ. It is a time to stop and look around, to consider how your life has been and know there is time to repent, to change and begin anew.
Listen as the Scripture readings each Sunday prepare us for the coming of Christ. Take time to ponder those words throughout the week.
When the Preacher wrote the words that we read at the beginning of this piece, he knew that time could not be rushed.
We need the four weeks of Advent to pause, contemplate, and prepare. The four weeks of Advent are a way to step away from the rush of the world and give us the opportunity to truly prepare for the coming of Christ.
In the words of “Take Time to Be Holy” (UMH #395), Advent gives us the time to talk with the Lord, to see the world as it is to be and not as it is.
To paraphrase the thoughts of the Preacher, there is a time for every season and this is the Season of the Lord.