It's still a bit sleepy the New Year. Well, after all it is not very old yet. What will it bring us? Are we excited? Do we have all kinds of plans? Let's see.
Feasts of the year
Appointments with God are not marked in our calendars
The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD. (Jesaja 60, verse 6)
The time between Ash Wednesday and Easter is call time of fasting. Where does this come from?
For thousands of years already, mankind has known the word "to fast". In the various cultures people fast at certain times. Yet this has got nothing to do with the idea of keeping the body in nice shape. It also has got nothing to do with the fact that some consider themselves too fat and want to reduce weight.
The original idea of fasting is another.
In the German language we have the idiom "yesterday’s snow" which is a kind of synonym to "old hat". At the board in front of our church here in Munich, Germany, I recently read the following: "Who thinks that Jesus would be as useless as yesterday‘s snow, should consider that yesterday’s snow is our drinking water of tomorrow." What does that mean?
Whoever is living in a so called Christina country knows that every year at spring time Easter is celebrated. It is also generally known that this is not mainly the festival of Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs but that it’s origin is in Christianity. The Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus had been executed about 200 years ago. In close connection with this execution we read the name of Judas Ischariot. He betrayed Jesus for the sum of 30 silver pieces. Was he guilty of the death of Jesus? Who was Judas? Why did he do this?
What do you see on this picture here? Can you recognize anything? Are there some persons? What are they doing?
Consider the lilies how they grow: They neither spin nor weave; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not attired like one of these. But if that is how God clothes the grass, which is growing in the field today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you! How little faith you have! (Luke 12, 27 – 28)
Summer for most people means time of vacations. All the year round we had been struggling and working hard, now it really is high time to relax. We are worth of taking a vacation, aren’t we? We have been saving money, and now we can afford taking a holiday, nothing but enjoying ourselves not thinking of anything.
Well, and God? Do we also take vacations from God, or do we invite him to join us? What does God think of vacations?
Is Thanksgiving a holiday which still should be celebrated at all? We are living in a more or less global society. More and more people live in big cities and not in rural areas. In Europe we produce far too much food, and much of it is being thrown away. When in any place of the world harvest is not good, then we import food from somewhere else. So what should we be thankful for, and to whom?
Autumn is something very special. Some consider it the season of the fading away. Leaves are falling off the trees, and nature gradually prepares for winter and low temperatures. This made me reflect upon time, upon the connection between the past, the present and the future.
Autumn is the time when it is getting dark sooner, when it is getting cooler, when people move closer together. In the evening we have to switch on a light in order to see something, and many people don’t really want to go outside any more.
Jesus also tells us something about a light which we can switch on.
Shortly after the longest night in December we celebrate Christmas. It also is called the day or night of light, the festival of light. We have Christmas trees, and in all kinds of places people lit up candles.
Yet in other cultures and in various religions people also celebrate light and even gods of light. This does not only appear somewhere far away. Right next door, followed by the New Age movement so called workers of light came up.
Yet who or what really is light? Is there a God of Light? Who is it?
It’s quite something with that Santa Claus. There are masses of discussions and movies all dealing with the question whether he exists or not. All through the month of December or even already in November we are thinking of him, we are waiting for him, we are treating him as somebody important. Yet what happens after Christmas? Do we pack him into a box and store him in the cellar or under the roof, and simply ignore him? But what if he does exist indeed? Where is he all the year round? What is he doing?
It is a lot easier with the Easter Bunny. At Easter time a normal rabbit simply transfers into an Easter Bunny, and afterwards it is a normal rabbit again.
Yet Santa Claus? Could it be that he really is at the North Pole, or is he on vacation on the Caribbean Islands? Yet for eleven months?