The chatty summer birds are mostly gone now, seeking warmer nests to fluff their feathers, and the winter birds have centre stage. These are not nearly as petite and delightful, but rather clumsy and comical as they lumber around the neighbourhood scratching out their living.
Leaves have dropped, snow blankets the ground and nights are finger-numbing. The night is long and dark, but it’s worth it to see the morning light come in with such brilliance.
The first rose glow gives way to orange-gold radiance, then blinding light, and finally, the pale sunshine of a November day. The sun hangs low in the sky, casting long shadows as it speeds toward the western horizon, slowly revealing a stunning late afternoon colour gradient which fades as darkness falls. The silhouettes of the towering neighbourhood evergreens that stand guard over our street, begin to blend with the night sky full of twinkling stars and planets. We like to play a guessing game: is it Mars? Jupiter? Venus? The moon is late to the party these days, rising in the middle of the night and sticking around long past sunrise, another November treat.
Each November day, with its vivid dawn, reminds us that “…the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”
(John 1:5 NIV)
This comes as a complete surprise to me, but I’m developing an appreciation of the very month I have long dreaded for its challenges with frigid weather, constant childhood illnesses, and long hours of darkness. There are gifts to discover in the gradual shift from a world alive to a world asleep until spring. The in-betweenness brings moments to breathe deep before we wander into another season full of anticipation and celebration, one quite unlike any other we’ve had before. Cuddles on sick days, candles in darkness, calm evenings – these are the blessings of a month that I’ve often cast aside as bleak and dismal.
November begins with a somber day of remembrance, considering recent history and struggling with the reality that the world has not changed as much as we would like to believe. As we wandered among decommissioned planes, tanks, torpedoes and naval mines this year, the grief of war stirred up a deep longing in me for true peace, the kind that only Jesus can bring.
Come, Lord Jesus, and make all things right.
In our world and in our own shattered relationships, Lord, make all things right. Bring the kind of healing only You can. Let this in-between season stir our hearts as we dare to hope that You are able to do what no one else has ever been able to do in the history of the world.
Help us embrace the tension of the now and the not-yet. Help us grieve our losses, adjust our expectations, and rest in Your love. We know that we are still in the middle of this story, and we trust that You are faithful.
It seems fitting that November ends with the dawning of the season of longing and anticipation of our Saviour. We look forward to celebrating His first coming and we anticipate His second coming, knowing that He has promised to return and make all things right.
November is the space we need to prepare our hearts, dare to hope, and trust that He will do what He says He will do. It’s the space we need to learn not to grow weary and lose heart. It’s the gift of the in-between, the time to anchor our entire holiday celebration to the One who is worthy of our praise before the sparkling of the season begins.
Now is the time to fix our eyes on Jesus…
“…the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)
Glorious November Light