Rest (December 21)

 

“O rest! thou soft word! autumnal flower of Eden! moonlight of the spirit!” (Jean Paul Richter).

AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR, AS AUTUMN TURNS TO WINTER, IT IS A TIME FOR THE LAND TO REST. The fields have done their work, the harvest has been gathered in, and now comes the time of rest. The days are short, and the nights are long. The weather has grown cold, and the land, perhaps, lies under a peaceful blanket of quiet snow. It is the time of rest, the “moonlight of the spirit.”

Rest and winter, the season of rest, are not valued as they should be. And this is all the more sad because we tend to be a people who are more in need of rest than many. On most days, we are hurried, harried, and harassed. We are driven by the incessant drumbeat of activity. In our culture, extreme busyness is a badge of honor, worn proudly by the important people — the movers and the shakers. And so rather than look forward to the restfulness of winter, we resent being forced to change gears and slow down. We do not properly appreciate what this cycle of the seasons was meant to do for us.

The arrival of winter brings with it the opportunity for more thought and reflection. During the more active seasons, we don’t have as much time to evaluate our actions. We’re so busy going that we rarely consider whether our destination is any place worth going to. In the winter, however, there is more time to consider our principles and our values, and to make the much-needed adjustments. This is a valuable respite, a season to sit by the fire and . . . ponder.

Quietude has a special beauty about it — and a unique strength. There are few things that epitomize strength any more than a mountain, yet a mountain is a very quiet, peaceful thing. It is majestic in its stillness. Its massive strength is quietly husbanded and not wastefully or frivolously spent. So we should not begrudge that time of the year when our own strength is to be held in reserve. The onset of winter should remind us of the need for rest and replenishment, and for quiet reflection on the meaning of our many activities. If not allowed to rest, our “fields” will fail us, perhaps when we need them most. The busier our summers are, the more we need our winters.

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop” (Ovid).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com