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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

February 2011

~In Between Times~

 

As months go, February has an identity crisis.  Most people don’t really know what to do with it.  It has no big holidays to speak of.  The weather is bitterly cold.  And it really is “the dead of winter.”  Several Christmas carols claim that the Nativity took place “in the deep midwinter,” but they only say it for poetic effect.  Winter doesn’t technically even start until four days before Christmas!  Aside from avid skiers, most of us begrudgingly endure February in the long wait for spring.  And while few of us would willingly “wish away” any of the time that we’re given, February can feel a little bit like crossing the Midwest en route to the Rockies: You pick up your speed, turn up the radio, and try to stay awake.

 

Of course, February does have a few things going for it.  In the United States, it’s “Black History Month,” chosen because both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were born in its icy grip.  And of course, February can boast a couple of minor holidays: Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day.  (The former is only celebrated by couples in love, and the latter is only celebrated by furniture stores and possibly…presidents?)  Mardi Gras is usually in February, but not this year.  A somber Ash Wednesday service usually inaugurates the season of Lent sometime in February, but again, not this year.  No, February 2011 is a true “in between time.”  And what do we do with in between times?

 

Well, we cherish them.  Just like any other season of life, we savor these in between times, knowing that every new day is unique and precious.  We enjoy these times and search their moments and their hours for traces of the Divine Presence.  Think of all the living that takes place while we’re not looking!  Think how quickly children grow.  How quietly they’re transformed before our eyes, and yet if we see them each day the changes go almost unnoticed.  Some of life’s finest moments are squeezed into the in between times, with no holidays to celebrate and no fine weather to enjoy.

 

In February, the days begin to lengthen, and the sunlight comes in at new angles, penetrating those long-dark corners, chasing away old shadows, casting the same old world in a whole new light. The light of late winter touches old situations with fresh, new perspectives. It can even help you to re-see the old-seeming people and the same old places of your life.  February is here, with its new radiance and new vision.

 

It's still winter, as it will be for a good long while. But the world is rolling back around to the light. Ah, light! You can turn your face away from it. You can avoid it, but it always comes rolling back around, in time.  Whatever in between times you face in your own life, face them with courage and expectation, for all life’s seasons are sacred.

 

Happy February,

 

~Brian