The Christmas season at the Milholland household has officially commenced. Today I wrapped the first seven packages. Four will be given to my children on Christmas Eve. One is Hannah's gift to her daddy and two are Hayleigh's gifts to her younger sisters. As the pile of presents builds so will my anticipation. It is almost as if the preparation for the season is as delightful as the actual season itself.
This morning I am reading 2 Timothy 4. As Paul concludes his final letter to Timothy, he is aware that the dusk of his time on earth is drawing nigh. In many ways, it makes these last remarks more meaningful. Have you ever thought about what you would say to your spouse, best friend, parents, children or siblings as you entered the twilight of your life? Would you offer advice or choose to reveal a deeper layer of your heart? Paul chooses one theme for this final chapter - preparation. He admonishes Timothy to be prepared and asks for his logistical help in equipping Paul to be more fruitful in his final days.
I find it interesting that Paul advises Timothy to be prepared in season and out of season (Verse 2). Just a year has four seasons, every life a natural rhythm of unique seasons. In what season do you find yourself?
- Winter - Winter is a time of cold and barrenness. It could be a time of loneliness, mourning or simply a period of nothing seeming to go your way. In winter, your heart can grow as frigid as the circumstances which swirl about your life.
- Fall - Fall is a time of transition. Kids go off to college or perhaps are born. Jobs or occupations are switched. Relationships change. Change is difficult for most people. Like the class business book, "Who Moved My Cheese?", most of us would prefer our cheese and everything else about our lives to remain as we are familiar. In autumn, a whole pendulum of emotions can lead us to make poor decisions out of a desperate attempt to keep things as they are.
- Summer - Summer is a time of intense heat marked by lengthy days. Heat comes in many forms - financial distress, marital conflict, child rearing woes and job loss just to name a few. The stress of these events often lead to worry, anxiety and sleeplessness - hence the long days. In this season, our natural inclination might be to attempt to control people and our environment or simply to check out of life for a bit.
- Spring - Spring is a time of hope and renewal. It is the honeymoons of our life. In this season relationships bloom and achievements blossom. As we experience the euphoria of success, we may be tempted to believe our good fortune is attributable to our talent rather than the goodness of God.
In every one of the seasons, God word to me is the same - be prepared. God finds us useful in each season of life. It is up to each of us to be prepared and available.
Jesus, on any given day the season I'm in could be a combination of all those above. In whatever season I find myself, I know with certainty that You are with me. You long to use me and all your sweet children to impact this place, this time and this generation with Your love that endures through every season of life. Today I choose to be prepared.