A few leaves are starting to fall outside my office window.
When is it autumn? What marks the beginning of the new season that we call “Fall?” It could be identified by a change in weather, colors appearing on the trees, or the fact that football is back on TV?
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says this…
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What marks the end of a season, and the advent of a new season?
There are some seasons that are clearly marked, like the end of school with a graduation, the birth of a baby marking the end of pregnancy and the start of parenthood, or even the day someone dies. We celebrate weddings, funerals and other special events as moments to recognize the change in seasons.
When things change in your life and are not accompanied by a ceremony, a party or a solemn assembly – do you stop to give words to the transition that is taking place?
I keep looking over the Focused Living timeline of my life, and a few things now stand out. There were transitions in my life that were not recognized when everything changed and I wish I would have taken intentional time to grieve, reflect or celebrate the changing tides in my life.
Anniversaries can help us in stopping to reflect. Anniversaries of marriage, when you relocated, when a significant tragedy or decision occurred, or even your anniversary at your workplace.
Often toasting over dinner helps to allow these thoughtful reflective moments to arise. We toast to just about everything that we see as a pattern or course of our life shifting or changing. As we celebrate events, circumstances, and even relief from pain, we honor God for His faithfulness and take the time to feel the joy and sorrow of the days we are living in.
In a world that is trying to bury their pain through substances, shopping, over eating, entertainment and so many other things. God wants us to look at the joy and pain in our hearts and share it with others. He wants us to process with others to experience the empathy that will fight against shame in our lives and transparency that will allow us to be seen, known and loved by others. The vulnerability you are willing to walk in will open your heart to the goodness of God and His perspective.
Have you just come into a new season that you need to celebrate or recognize in the presence of others?
Should you toast something at dinner this evening?
Here’s to the goodness of God in a new season!
-Andrew Burchett, Lead Pastor