However if we are to live in rest throughout the year, we have to learn to embrace rather than endure distinctive seasonal characteristics. Learning to live in step with the rhythms of the year can have a calming effect on our busy modern lives.
Simon King, in his account of life in the Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, wrote
[Simon King ‘Shetland Diaries’ 2010]
HOW DO WE STAY IN REST AS WINTER APPROACHES?
and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.
[1 Timothy 4:4]
Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
[1 Thessalonians 5: 17,18]
An attitude of thanksgiving is not an optional extra, it’s the natural expression of a child of God. The Lord also promises that when we offer thanks we open up the way for Him to bless us [Psalm 50:23]. So make a decision to kiss grumblings goodbye this winter.
This subject can be explored further here:
2. ENJOY THE DARK EVENINGS:
Long dark nights can be a source of depression for many people; so focusing on the benefits can be a real mood-lifter. Take time to plan some activities which perhaps get crowded out during the long, active summer evenings. What can you find to do during this season, which will help to mark it out as special, and cause you to look forward to next year with anticipation? Which special activities, particularly appropriate to this time of year, can become part of your annual rhythm?
Get curled-up and cosy, for example, and be blessed and challenged by a Christian biography, or savour a long-awaited book; or perhaps you could turn your hand to a creative project, learn a new skill, take time to write letters or listen to music. Maybe you might be inspired to invite family and friends round for candlelit meals or nostalgic film nights, visit elderly neighbours or experiment in the kitchen. Whatever it is, have fun – and make it special!
3. GET OUTSIDE
A lot of recent research at Edinburgh University has shown that being out in the countryside has a very therapeutic effect. So relieve your stress levels by spending time outside: in the hills, at the coast, in country parks or municipal gardens - wherever - and enjoy the autumnal splendour, migrating birds and other natural wonders. Many country parks and RHS gardens have special seasonal events – check them out, you may enjoy something so much you start a family tradition.
Alternatively, on a crisp, clear night try a nocturnal activity and visit a dark sky reserve or planetarium and delight in the marvels of the universe. A star gazing guide can be found at the link below:
4. SAVOUR SEASONAL PRODUCE
We are blessed in the western world with a wealth of foodstuffs; our supermarkets are stacked with a rich variety of products, which we largely take for granted. As this year’s harvest season draws to a close, it is a very appropriate time to be rejoicing in the earth’s produce. Let’s really celebrate the abundance of our provision. In addition, it’s a good time to consider supporting local producers through farmers' markets, and restaurants which use locally-sourced goods; and experiment ourselves - cook up a seasonal feast!
5. FIND THINGS TO CELEBRATE
Our days can be dull or sparkling depending on our attitude. Jesus said that He came so we could have abundant life – and celebration is the natural outworking and expression of a life that is brimming over.
So let’s not just exist until the days warm up again, instead let’s be intentional about finding things to celebrate in the season we are in.
The Lord wants us to walk in rest and peace, and that includes in the natural seasons of the year. So let’s learn from Simon King’s wisdom, embrace the season we’re in, and look out for it to reveal its wonders.
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