The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons can be a combination of great joy and, oddly, some melancholy.
They mark the coming and going of not only the literal seasons of fall to winter, but they also mark the passing of seasons in our lives. My wife commented to me as we were decorating the house recently, “I miss the days when our little ones opened presents that were under the tree.” You see, we have come to the gift card stage of life, because Papaw and Mamaw are not with it enough to know exactly what to buy. It is just a little less exciting to hand cash or an Amazon gift card to our children and grandchildren, rather than a beautifully wrapped gift that we can watch them rip through in a matter of seconds. In my morning meditation, God brought this beautiful verse to mind:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
In doing so, the Lord reminded me of two great truths: everything in life has a season, and every season in life has a purpose.
To everything there is a season
A season has a beginning place and an ending place, which are not always easily perceived. Summer kind of slides into fall, and there are days when you are not sure which it is. You love the coming of fall, but you hate turning loose of summer. Inevitably, the change occurs and the new season comes. You can’t stop it because God has ordained it. You can bemoan it, fret about it, get bitter at it; but friend, you cannot stop it. Everything has a season. Some seasons are easier to love than others, but all have highs and lows. There is a time to be born! What a season of joy, of promise, of excitement! That new child learns, grows, loves, and achieves, but is in the process of leaving when they arrive. Our being born ensures our dying. That is not so attractive. Not because we fear eternity - our hope is in Christ! - but because we sorrow at the separation. There is a time to weep. There are no lives that are not touched with trials and a measure of sorrow. But weeping is also a part of a season, a part that gives way to laughter. Laughter that would not be appreciated were it not for the weeping. I love God’s promise in Ecclesiastes 3:11 to make everything beautiful in His time.
Every season has highs and lows, but every season in the life of a believer will ultimately be made beautiful by a loving God. I love summer. I enjoy walking outdoors, fishing, and grilling out. I love daylight until 9:00 PM and baseball and all that summer is. At times, I regret yielding to fall. But then God paints the mountain slopes with orange and red and brown, and that cool morning air invigorates. Thanksgiving comes and I think how can anything be better than fall? I regret when the fall season ends and hard old winter comes on. But then God does something! He puts a fire in the fireplace, erases the color of the leaves, and paints the trees white and glistening with snow and ice. Then He does His greatest work: He closes school for a snow day, and you sled and you walk at night when things are so quiet you hear the silence. Then God brings Christmas, and I say how could God be so good to give us such a wonderful season like winter! As He works in the seasons of our world, so will He work in the seasons of our lives.
To every season there is a reason
God directs the steps of a believer. (Psalm 37:23, Proverbs 16:9) God knows where we are, what we are going through, and He has a design for our lives. We are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29) It is a comfort to consider that even in times when I do not see God’s plan or what His purpose is, God does know and it is for my good! I recently finished a study of Joseph’s life. Time after time, he faced difficult circumstances for reasons that were not apparent to him. But in all these seasons - whether it was in bondage to the Ishmaelites, Potiphar’s house, or prison - God had a plan, and it was for His glory and Joseph’s good!
God has a purpose for the season you are in. He wants you to be the parent of the children He gave you, the spouse of the partner He blessed you with, and the member in the church to which He led you. There is something you can be, a way you can live, something you can give, or learn, or do that no one else can.
To everything there is a season, and for everything there is a reason. See it your way: it can make you bitter. See it God’s way: it can make you better.