Sunday, November 01, 2009
ALL SAINTS DAY
Now here November gray and brown
with windy gusts blows into town
ragged battered leaves fall down
the year has almost made its round.
Pull covers up against the cold
and dream of golden days of old
when we were young enough as yet
to live each day without regret...
Thank goodness we are past all the macabre, tension-producing (at least in me) excitement of Halloween. All Saints Day dawns inevitably as a quiet epilogue to the pagan revelry of its eve. November's first light is solemn and still, sometimes littered with pieces of pumpkins smashed on the street, but always somehow clean and hopeful in its tenor. This is a holy day which begins a holy season, and ironically, it sits here in the darkest part of the year. The time in nature when life and light are waning away, I am prone to reflect, not only on my disappointments and failures, but also on the sure and certain hope that good can still come in this life. When it is dark outside, the lights from my windows shine all the brighter. And on this day, we celebrate those in church history who shone the brightest against the dark backdrop of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
We remember on this day, all those frail human beings who said yes to God and were transformed in their lives by their self-surrender, bearing heaven's bright beams in their smiles while bearing the cares and crosses on their backs and in their hearts.
Even the martyrs were silly with hope. St. Lawrence who was roasted alive, quipped at the point of death, "Turn me over. I'm done on this side".
What compels people to hope against hope? For me, it is the knowledge that God has always been present with me, and no matter what may befall, He allows me to "see" His hand in all things. Every day is a miracle, and everything good that is, is God-breathed.
When you go into the supermarket, or to a roadside stand at this time of year, look at the vibrant colors of the produce. All creation praises the Lord, just by it's being itself, and my, the colors of nature are no exception. I have a deep orange and also a smokey blue hubbard squash sitting on my counter top right now that are absolutely rich with harvest goodness. They make me happy just looking at them!
When you are driving along, and an old, favorite song comes on the radio, that is a little gift, a sweet nothing just gratuitously thrown your way. Be thankful. I am even thankful that we have a special day coming up to be thankful! I usually spend way too much on Thanksgiving dinner, but actually quite a feast can be available for not that much money. The stores always have turkeys for less than a dollar a pound, and potatoes and vegetables fresh and canned are pretty cheap, too. This is the one holiday that the world has not quite figured out how to commercialize, so I look forward to it with happy anticipation.
So to try and tie my varied themes together, I think that this is an excellent day to celebrate the soul's triumph over the all too certain dreary darkness of life, that all the darkness in the world cannot put out the light of a single candle, and that we ought to look forward to the good things coming our way, even as we enjoy all the little, seemingly inconsequential lights and goodies of each passing day.
Happy Harvest, Happy November, Happy Feast of All Saints!!