|Photo by Rhonda Turner.|
Winter may not be with us on the calendar but the “Ol’ Man” sent us a brisk notification of things to come over the last while. Well below zero temperatures chilled without mercy. And the substantial snowfall of early November have resulted in differing reactions including both joy and not so muted disgust yet there was no mistaking the forthcoming deduction; “Mon Pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver!”
I am not sure what other conclusion could result. However, hearing people’s not just negative reaction but genuine disgust at what has come our way of late makes me wonder about the nature of our expectations. Of course the weather is an easy place to confuse, project, and forget reality as images of climes far more temperate flood our various media. Indeed the self-interested agendas of airlines, cruise companies, and resort hotels capitalize on the chilling feeling which November’s unforgiving winds blow into day to day life.
But that is not all that awaits us if we are attentive.
Winter’s beckoning, November, announces to me more than the slumber of the shortening damp and cold days, with their malingering voices of the last of the Canada geese. November reminds me of something paradoxically reassuring and discomforting, we do not control the flight of this planet. We may be well ensconced in our assumptions about the vehicle upon which we live – this “third rock from the sun” – but the somewhat disconcerting truth is our lives are utterly dependent upon its irrevocable itinerary. We move as it pleases!
For some reason I find that reassuring, comets, asteroids, meteors, and sun flares notwithstanding. Such thoughts beckon us from our illusory sense of being in control and can draw us out of ourselves, and I think being drawn out of oneself can be a very good thing. Like it or not we are drawn out of each season and more especially the comforts that the more appealing ones bring to us. Ultimately, and thankfully, we do not get to decide exactly when that happens.
I suppose that being drawn out of oneself is at the heart of the religious-spiritual experience and certainly resonates with traditional Advent piety. Perhaps that is why I find some strange comfort in being buffeted by November’s squalls, of course while standing in the luxury of a full length coat! All such accoutrements notwithstanding, safe home, dry bed, warm fire in the stove, November’s discomforts awaken me from the very safe realm of my own reality. It stirs me to briskly connect to that which is more than myself – to connect with God’s imminent presence in every breath we take!
While our conversations about the weather always carry a certain easy currency we can readily share, we should not be deceived at this time when the days darken. The discomforting gifts of late are out of our control, unpredictable and often times utterly inconvenient. These gifts reawaken me in a very concrete way to my human vulnerability and its powerful connection to Advent’s impetus of God incarnate – God made utterly vulnerable and paradoxically reminding us that we are not the regents of this hurtling realm.
Which, at this darkened time of year, pushes me to ponder, prepare, and yearn for the one who is!