“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
When we first moved back to northwest Arkansas from Corpus Christi, Texas, after living there for eight years, people would ask us what was it we missed the most about living here versus living in south Texas. It only took a few seconds to reply. We missed the seasons.
My whole being resonates with understanding as Sister Macrina Wiederkehr wrote: “In my personal daily living I often find myself longing for those ‘in the beginning’ times. I am almost more faithful in the beginning of any season. I feel more awake; I live with more dedication and enthusiasm.”
I approach any new natural or liturgical season with a sense of anticipation, awe, and rich memories. Maybe one of the reasons I love the season of Advent is that it is for the church the beginning of a new year, but more often than not for us in northwest Arkansas it is also a time that signals the beginning of winter and maybe − just maybe − a white Christmas.
The Season of Pentecost is the longest of our church seasons typically from June to the end of November. In churches during the summer months we experience reduced church attendance and consequently low income and low spirits. But we are saved by the bell as a new year begins − a new school year − for our public and church schools. We get so excited about seeing all our children again we even have a Rally Day to signal the beginning of the new Church School year! We celebrate our need to know and to grow all our lives into a healthier and strong relationship with our loving God who has been patiently waiting for all of us to come back to a time of community worship and classes for all ages for our children and for our adults.
I remember vividly my first days of school. I couldn’t sleep the night before. I was so excited to see my friends again and to learn with them the new academic challenges for us new first graders, then second graders, then third graders, and so forth. I vividly remember the same sense of anticipation and excitement on our Church Rally Days! I always, always looked forward to seeing Christ Episcopal Church full of people once again and our Sunday School classes full of students and as I have since learned to say, “We were in ‘full squeal!’ ” The vacant, silent classrooms and hallways were full of children once again.
Both our public schools and our church schools are filled to the brim with superior teachers just waiting for their students to return to the classrooms. Ministers all over America are just waiting with anticipation for all the people to return to the pews.
The season of New Beginnings is upon us. Let us prepare our hearts, our souls, our bodies, and our minds for this time of renewal!