There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
My sister has a most unique way of giving a Christmas gift. It’s more like a game. She hands you a ball of Saranwrap that is wrapped tightly in the shape and size of a large beach ball. This ball has a tail! You are intended to pull the tail. When you do the ball begins to unwrap. As you pull and pull the ball rolls all around the house. You pull and chase. Chase and pull. But, before you take more than a step or two, some astonishing surprise pops out! It could be anything: a figurine, your favorite candy, a shiny coin, or even some sparkly stone she found on the way that made her think of you. It really is a riot-equal fun for the gift-giver, the receiver, and the spectators. As the items appear, everyone in the room becomes involved in the game. We all try and figure out why this or that was given, why the order, and what will be next. By making these little journeys for us, my sister draws her extended family together. She communicates her love for us and her deep understanding of who we are and what our needs are.
This epic gift unwrapping reminds me of how faith and the first Christmas come together. We all receive the gift of a child in Bethlehem. Through this child we learn a faith that, as it unwraps, a journey full of surprises begins–just like my sister’s present. There is no telling where it will take you, what you will learn about yourself, or what you will find. The surprises that pop out may
immediately make sense, or it may take ages to figure out why such a thing came into your life. But God gives us the gift of time and wondrous surprises.
Our scripture passage boldly tells us, “There is a time for everything! …” Last word in King Solomon’s musing about time is peace. My Christmas prayer for you is that in your time you will make sense out of the things that come into your life. And by
doing so, you will come to understand God’s unique love and understanding of who you are and what your needs are. As you wrestle with all of this, that faith will guide the way when the path winds and twists and turns. Most importantly, that God will grant you peace.
Rev. James F. Deters