Yule Blog – December 2016

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The Rhythms of Life

Yesterday morning I started the day, as I sometimes do, with a spinning class at our local leisure centre. For the uninitiated this has nothing to do with sewing. It is a group class, of fellow like-minded masochists, who enjoy being shouted at by a fitness instructor to go faster, harder, higher up the metaphorical hill, on an indoor bike. It’s a strange world but we all get our kicks from something!

The Bah Humbug in me started to rise when, on this occasion, the instructor informed us that the first third of the music tracks would be Pop Christmas tunes. O dear, I thought, not really my taste. But, alas I was converted! I really enjoyed that session because the Christmas tunes seemed to hit the right beat to keep your pedals spinning to. An important part of spinning is keeping the cadence of your pedals in time with the beat, or rhythm, of the music. And, to my surprise, Christmas tunes worked well.

Today, as I look out of the office window, it is hardly getting light and it is wet and dreary. I am very glad of the warmth of the radiator, the light from the ceiling, even the shelter of the roof over my head on this the shortest day of the year; the winter solstice. Much as I enjoy the comforts of modern life, sometimes, I feel, they blur our sense of the real rhythms of life. One day can appear the same as the next as central heating disperses cold air, electric light dissolves darkness and music and electronic noise drowns out silence. We live in a world which has lost its sense of rhythm.

To walk with God is to walk in time with his rhythms. As creator, he has made us to exist on a planet which has seasons. And the wonderful thing about this is that days like today, winter solstice, mark a change. For tomorrow, will be lighter than today, and the next and so on. Ancient people knew this. Apparently, the pagans held a festival of light during the month of December to, a bit like ourselves, help them get through the long winter months. When the Celtic Church Christianised all of that, close to 1500 years ago, apparently Advent became a period of fasting. It sounds as if the church was being Bah Humbug here too. However, I get the idea. Because, Christmas Day became the Feast Day and then the feasting continued into the New Year. As the writer of Ecclesiastes says, …there is a time for everything…

So, how do we keep in time with God’s rhythms of life. Basically we recognise that there is a time for everything. When the time was right, and only he knew when, he sent his Son into this world. We celebrate that at Christmas. We remember his death for our sin, and celebrate his resurrection, at Easter and there is a time for that. But let’s not lose the real reason for this season. The incarnation: he became one of us. There is real darkness in our world but its changing to light. God is the one who has set the seasons and we do well to follow him, daily, step by step, through the changing seasons, from life, to death and resurrection.

I am grateful then to my spinning instructor for helping me to see, this simple lesson; that all things have a time and place. (In hope that, sometimes, she remembers to, slow it down, slow it down) There is a time to step out into the darkn nights and find God there because that is where he is. There is a time to celebrate and rejoice at the rising sun at the turn of a new dawn. There is a time to speed up, go harder and to slow down, to recover. The long dark nights are God’s design as nature’s recovery period. But –Arise, shine; your light has come and the Glory of the Lord is risen. Merry Christmas!

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A Christian Liturgy for Winter Solstice[1]

Together we say:-

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being

This is the God we serve,
A God of love, of healing and power.
All: Alleluia
This is the God we serve,
A God who loves us with a Father’s love.
All: Alleluia
This is the God we serve,
A God who laughs as we laugh,
All: Alleluia
This is the God we serve,
A God who suffers as we suffer.
All: Alleluia
This is the God we serve,
A God who brings light into dark places.
All: Alleluia
This is the God we serve,
A God who brings warmth into hearts that are chilled.
All: Alleluia
This is the God we serve,
A God who sees within us the potential of Spring.
All: Alleluia

‘Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing.’ (Albert Laighton)
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  1. http://www.faithandworship.com/Winter_Solstice_Praying_Celtic_Year.htm#ixzz4TU3yrmQD

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