Advent brings with it a new church year. The church seasons set the mood and take one through the roller-coaster of Christianity. The seasons bring with them the highs and lows, scripture passages that are awesomely inspirational, those that are hardest to hear, and the pieces we would rather forget. The most dramatic being the narrative of Jesus, following him through his birth, ministry, death and resurrection. But through these up and downs, God’s unfailing love and peace through prayer remains the underlying theme that holds people together.
The church seasons mirror the seasons passing beyond their stained-glass windows. For some, these passing seasons are the main event, rather than an appropriate accompaniment. For those that find the earth sacred and her bountiful support miraculous in itself, their calendar follows a cycle of highs and lows as well. Through the plentiful summer, to the barren winter, through the death of autumn, to the awakening of spring. All the while trusting the earth will provide, and working to emulate the balance of the seasons.
Whether you’re a pagan following the cycles of the earth or a Christian following the narrative of Jesus, both cycles prepare believers for the whole of the human experience. An experience full of highs and lows, but somehow constant with an underlying sense of contentment and joy. To fully appreciate each season, we must open our hearts to all of them. One cannot bear one’s full effect without its opposite. Even the lows must be given their time. We need them as much as the high moments. In this balance, we find patience, respect and excitement for the full spectrum of life and spiritual experience.