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Friday, December 28, 2012

Dr. Pat Saxon
Prayer Ministry Volunteer

“For everything there is a season….” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

A Word of Hope
The great spreading oak has shed her leaves. Winter winds sent them twirling and flying, cascading to the earth and skittering across the lawn. All her rich foliage, red-umber in autumn, gone. Now bare branches fork into the sky, blue-framed by day, dark silhouettes against the moonlight by night.

Each season has its gifts. As we step deeper into winter, it is good to consider its special offerings. Though the Texas sun and weather changes often tease us, the recent norther calls us inside. With a cup of tea warming our hands, we settle meditatively in front of the fire, staring at flame and embers. The dogs curl up at our feet, their breath soft and even. We turn inward-- pondering, mulling over the past, wandering the pathways of memory and desire. In sessions of sweet silent thought, we summon up remembrance of grace-filled times and pray our thanks, recall the successes and failures of the year—and the successes that turned hollow and the failures that became the seeds of growth.

Winter is a time for contemplating what’s truly elemental in our lives and what is ephemeral, what we want to hold fast to and what we need to let flow through our fingers that we may live the life more abundant.

Rabbi Harold Kushner tells of a yearly practice of theologian and mystic Zalman Schachter. He holds an imaginary dinner party in his mind and invites everyone with whom he’s had a run-in in the past year. Everyone with whom he’s on bad terms, everyone who’s been mean to him, everyone who has hurt, offended or disappointed him is invited to this imaginary feast. He goes around the table to each guest and, one by one, explains why he has invited them, thanking them for the valuable lessons they have taught him.

Clearing time. Claiming time. Winter.


A daffodil bulb rests in the palm of my hand, last year’s husk flaking off like exfoliated skin. Hard knot of pure potentiality. I lay it in its bed, smooth over the earthen covers and leave it to winter dreaming.

God of all seasons, grant us graceful wintering. Amen.

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