November is often a strange in between month. It seems like it is almost always a surprise when it comes and winter with it. Growing up on PEI we would say if it hadn’t snowed by November 11th then it would snow on the 11th.
Four of my five sibling and I played in the Legion band so we were always outside either playing while it snowed or standing in snow on Remembrance Day. And even though we knew it was coming we rarely felt prepared for it.
I think life is like that. We can intellectually know we are getting older and more likely to lose family and friends. We can
intellectually know we shouldn’t be climbing certain ladders or lifting certain weights and yet we do and pay the price. We just aren’t prepared for the changes of life. They are not welcome I wonder if we were to look at life through the lens of our national celebrations if we could see these unexpected changes, differently. For example November is sandwiched between the October celebrations of Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en (All Saints eve) and the December celebration of Christmas. So between thanks and remembering the saints in October and the new beginnings of December we have the reminder of loss in Remembrance Day. As well as the reminder of the coming death like state of winter. I wonder if we really gave ourselves over to be thankful for everything in our whole lives could we face those changes easier? I wonder if remembering all those men and women who died in the prime of their lives in war would help us appreciate all the extra years we have been given and be satisfied? And I wonder if we could really appreciate the promise of new life born in
the Christ child had we not first faced the reality of the long slumber of winter and our own deaths?
For myself it is when I have lost a dear one that Christmas takes on a deeper meaning than egg nog and Santa’s sleigh. I see in Christ’s birth a hope that our culture is uncomfortable talking about. Because, this hope comes in the midst of
painful and costly loss. November helps lead me to a deeper emotional and spiritual experience of the world because it allows time to savour the saints in our lives and give thanks for them. As I finish this, I am aware of families in our congregation who are going through the upheaval and pain of loss. May this November be a time to celebrate the lives of those who have touched you with love. Then in December we will celebrate with you the promise of new life born in a stable. Until that time, may we offer you warmth, love and prayer in this in between month of November.