November heralds the very often grey, quiet time of the year when in the northern hemisphere at least, the natural world begins to take a well-earned rest. The last of the leaves are falling from the trees, leaving bare branches against the cloudy skies. Squirrels retreat from the chill of the approaching winter. Plants are dying back in the garden, and the damp of autumn hangs in the air.
Yet paradoxically, for the human world it’s often a time to accelerate forwards – or that’s how it can feel to me! Onwards to the festive season that is approaching in the next calendar month. Adverts tell us how many shopping days are left till the big day, while big online shopping events like Black Friday loom on the horizon.
But if we can resist the commercial pressure that often builds at this time of year, and reconnect with the season that is unfolding outside our windows, it might just give us breathing space to approach things a bit differently. Slowing ourselves to the rhythm of the natural ebb and flow, cultivation and fallow, flowering and dying off of the fields, trees, and landscape around us might just give us an excuse, a reason, to put down our phones and break those 24/7 patterns.
The church calendar also brings with it an opportunity for us to look back and remember, first in the form of All Souls at the beginning of the month, and then on to Remembrance Sunday on 10th November. And as the nights draw in it is perhaps also a time to look forward, to reflect and perhaps even begin to mend those things in our life that need attention.
So before the busyness of Christmas takes over, may we find time to ensure that the most important things in our lives, our relationships with each other and ourselves – and for some of us – with God, are found in a good place, rooted in peace and ready for whatever the season will bring.
Much love, Becca Gilbert.
Serving the parishes of Barton, Coton, Harlton and Haslingfield in the Lordsbridge Team of churche