‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28)
The year draws to a close; the temperature falls; the heating kicks in and radiators are warm to the touch. All around us are signs of winter’s approach. Trees and hedgerows are turning wonderful shades of brown and gold; soon they will be bare. Many creatures are preparing to hibernate. Nature is shutting down.
As the natural world slows, we gear up for frantic activity. As nature puts the lights out, we turn up the wick and burn the midnight oil. The last 2 years have been draining for us all. Despite working and shopping from home, cancelled holidays and social activity, church by Zoom; we’ve still been busy. Homes have been reordered to accommodate the office. Parents and grandparents have added home-schooling to their CVs. Even the familiar has had to be done in unfamiliar ways. All this takes time and effort; mental as well as physical. We are tired: tired from our own endeavours; tired of the constant drip of gloom; tired of managing constant change.
On top of our own pressures, we feel the need to be strong for others; especially those worse off than ourselves. We want to keep going, keep the lights on. We are, secretly perhaps, afraid that if we once turn the lights off, even if we manage to switch them back on again, no one will be there.
We need to rest. We can’t all hibernate until the spring, but we do need to pace ourselves through the winter months. The Jesus who says, ‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest’ also reminds us that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (Jn 3:16).
The leafless hedgerows and bare earth of winter, will grow back stronger for taking their rest; in God’s loving care, so can we. Some things are essential, many are not. Let us pray for God to show us which is which.
Rev Philip Payne
The Notice Sheet for 21 November 2021 can be found here