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Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

I can’t help but hear the Byrd’s classic “Turn! Turn! Turn!” playing in my head every time I think about this Scripture. It’s a fitting song to become such an American ear-worm, because the message of Ecclesiastes 3 has so many applications for so many different moments in life. I’m thinking about it this season in particular on the back-end of Christmas. The run-up to this week can be so hectic in many of our lives; whether it’s shopping for loved ones, dealing with car troubles, shoveling, heating the house, traveling, or preparing for holiday parties, school break, or church events. Not all of us have a big to-do on December 25th, but it is a special day nonetheless, and the winter holidays make December a uniquely complicated time for all. In the behind-the-scenes life of the church, Advent sometimes feels like a race to the finish line, which is a real shame, as it can distract from the meaning and the beauty of the Advent season as a time of hope, and of darkness waiting for life. There is a time for darkness as much as there is a time for light, after all.

Not to be undone, however, even after Christmas Day is finished more hustle and bustle awaits! Traveling home, cleaning up the house, prepping for New Year’s trips and parties, and maybe even the search for someone to kiss at midnight. We don’t give ourselves a break!

In this most complicated and beautiful of seasons, we must remind ourselves of the promise of Ecclesiastes 3: there is a time to do, and a time to not do. A time for chaos, and a time for order. A time for work, and a time for rest. Let us find our rest where we may, that we may better live into the fullness of this life with which God has blessed us.

Prayer: God of the seventh day, God of Sabbath; thank you for giving us permission to rest. Help me to believe it, and help me to find it. Amen.

Pastor Dan Hollis