We think of time in a very linear and mechanical way. We break time down into very small increments, like minutes and hours. But that has not always been the case for humankind. We once thought about time as cyclical. Lunar cycles for instance. Just go check an Old Farmer’s Almanac, it suggests planting crops according to Lunar Cycles. We call certain moon phases harvest moons. That’s because men once watched the sky for “times and seasons”, as Moses would write in Genesis. Harvest was a time of celebration and thanks for the work done in Summer. Spring a time of renewal and blessing and life after a period of cold and inactivity. These were common among pagans, and when Christianity blossomed in the West, the teachings of Christ redirected their celebrations. Instead of sacrificial pleadings with false gods for capricious favor, these celebrations became times of Thanksgiving, expressions of gratitude.
But we have become a people of science. Clocks mark our days. Months fly by with no thought of the season. The holidays are ushered in by Madison Ave and big box retailers. Stress and busyness descend on the American consumer like a storm. The parties begin, then, all at once, it is a pile of paper and boxes and credit card bills. It is time for Christians to begin re-investing meaning into these celebrations again, redeeming them from consumer practice, as our forefathers did from pagan.
On Sunday mornings Solomon’s Porch has been doing a series of short talks on the reformers called “From Luther to the Pilgrims”. The point is to “redeem the time”. We are giving meaning again to the season leading up to Thanksgiving. Reminding ourselves that our forefathers once dared to give their life for the Gospel’s sake. Reminding the Church that Thanksgiving is not about eating turkey and watching football, but is instead about a group of Christians, who after suffering terrible adversity and loss, stopped to give thanks to God after their first successful harvest.
If you are a parent it behooves you to act quickly to begin to give meaning to the times and seasons your children will celebrate. Part of Christian discipleship is to point the disciple away from the world and toward Jesus and His Church. We are trying to do that by celebrating Reformation Day, which is October 31st, marking the day in 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 These to the church door in place of Halloween. There are many ways one can do this for Thanksgiving as well. William Bradford’s account of the actual events is published in a volume called Plymouth Plantation. Selective readings during family worship or just after a meal a loud, is one thing you could do. Silly as it may sound, Charles Schultz made an excellent little Peanuts short about the “Mayflower Crossing” (Youtube link) and the Pilgrims first winter. There are many other sources as well. I encourage you, as followers of Christ, to take the next few weeks and plan some strategic redemption points for yourself and your family around how you will celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas a like. At Solomon’s Porch we will soon be moving on from our “Luther to the Pilgrims” emphasis into celebrating the Advent of Jesus our King. Throughout December we will be teaching on the importance of the Incarnation in Christian faith and practice, and planning some extra service and meals together. I look forward to redeeming the time with our little flock, and inviting others to come and consider Christ and enter fellowship with His people.
Soli Deo Gloria