This last weekend was Paul’s much dreaded semi-annual event, “the changing our clocks” (at last count we had 14!) as we “changed the time” to Daylight Savings. Well, that’s what they call it anyway, though I have to question the label. Did we really “change time”? It seems to me that time stayed absolutely the same: 60 seconds in every minute, 60 minutes in every hour, and 24 hours in every day. So what “changed” beside the label we gave it? And how many other things are similar, when we change something’s label without its form or function ever seeming to be affected?
I asked myself that question as I considered the length of the light and darkness that first day after said “time change.” Except for the clock, the world appeared to be just the same as it was the day before. Solstices are like that too, I decided, because they seem especially out of sync with reality: A change of label occurs but nothing much happens visually. In point of fact, the opposite looks true: In the Northern hemisphere the “Winter Solstice” doesn’t immediately change a thing. The truth though, is that the solstice is the harbinger of brighter, warmer days to come even when the coldest, darkest days of winter are just beginning. Similarly, the “Summer Solstice,” on June 21st or 22nd, finds the wheel turning once again as warmer, brighter days grow shorter, holding the portent of winter. In either case, a change of name seems the only influence on the situation until many more months have passed.
Two days ago one of my morning devotional had touched upon that truth and got me thinking along these lines in the first place. I’d like to quote it here:
Depending on how one views the calendar, the winter solstice happens at a moment in time between December 21st and 22nd each year. It happens at the moment in the earth’s annual orbit around the sun when the earth’s axis is tilted farthest away from the sun. Practically speaking, it marks the end of long nights, short days, and the beginning of short nights, long days.
Spiritually speaking, we long for a winter solstice-type moment in our lives when we are going through times of trouble. We want to reach a point when we see more light than darkness in each day, when the darkness of discouragement gives way to the light of joy and hope as the Son rises anew in our life. Until that light appears, we can use the darkness as a time to meditate and reflect on the unchanging character and nature of God. While darkness may affect how we see Him, darkness does not change Him. The psalmist David said he would think about God as he lay on his bed at night. He meditated on Him through the “watches”–the stages, the progression–of the night.
Ask God to walk with you through the stages of your dark night. Remember who He is and what He has done for you.
Turning Points Magazine and Devotional (03/11/11)
All that is perfectly in tune with what I was talking about last time: Frustration. Impatience. And now labels that change names even when that change might not actually be visible for a while. A spiritual solistice didn’t seem to be what I wanted, though maybe it was the truth I needed to hear. Because unlike moving the clocks ahead one hour, a spiritual solstice is not an instant change; it often takes time for reality to catch up with the truth.
And how often is my spiritual life like that?