Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Evening of the Night and Day

Evening is evening with day. The time of night has caught the time of light, and they stand in equal balance in our day. Slowly our nights grow longer, and our days grow shorter.

Until this very moment I have not been ready for the coming of the Fall with itas threat of Winter. I am a Southern California boy living in New England. The Fall has always been my favorite season, but the shortness of the Salem Summers have taken me by surprise.

I am ready now.

Today's new Pagans celebrate the cycle of the seasons. The longest days, the longest nights, the equinoxes with their evening of the day and night all speak to them of change and life. The holy days of the Jews were set at harvests and at memorials of historic events.

As American Christians, we only really celebrate historic events or human resource. Days are based around great men: Martin Luther King, George Washington, Columbus, Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims, the 4th of July and our founding fathers. Days are based around human activity: Memorial Day and war, or Labor Day and work. Of course, our biggest days are founded in God's movement on history: Christmas and the Manger, and Easter and the Cross. I certainly want to honor the wonderful works of my fellow man, but I wonder if perhaps the days we celebrate are far more humanistic than that which the Pagans celebrate.

Neo-Pagans see the seasonal changes moved by the hands of God (okay, in their case it may be the gods, and goddesses.) We celebrate days based upon human activity. Even the celebration of Easter and Christmas are the celebration of the Man Christ Jesus, and most of us barely recognize the God Who is above and beyond humanity. Strangely, the only holiday we celebrate in common is the holiday which most evangelicals flee for fear of it having a demonic source - Halloween, the last harvest celebration.

Could it be that our understanding of holidays (holy-days) here in America is sadly anthropocentric? Is it somehow all about us, and lacking in a view outward to God and HIs Creation? I wonder if we might learn a thing or two if we could balance our celebrations between man centered, and creation centered holy-days?

I am happy for the coming of the Fall now. I am reminded that though dark, cold times may come, I have a place to hide away by the warm fire of God's love. Somehow labor day was devoid of such lessons for me. I barely noticed that day go by, but the autumnal equinox vividly catches my imagination each year.


Jenelle said...

(This whole post could comprise one blossoming chapter of your forthcoming book.) You've got stuff to say and you've got the authority to do it from experience.

Pastor Phil said...

Thanks Jenelle,

I do wonder how it is we have lost our vision of the greatness of God's creation, and its place in establishing wonder. Creation centered holy-days would certainly have been one of those experiences which would have helped set the wonder in our hearts.