All Saint’s Day marks the beginning of the darkest third of the year

As I enjoy the color of leaves burnished by the golden autumn sun, I recognize how God invites us to contemplate the great mystery of death and letting go, as well as the hiddenness of new life that will delight us in the coming spring. The great cycles of death and resurrection are manifest in the falling of leaves that enrich the soil for spring planting, in the flaky bulbs we place six inches deep in the dark earth only to watch them begin to rise in February, and in our remembering those saints who have gone before us and imagining their joy in the nearer presence of God.

This time of year I’m reminded of these words from Colossians 3:3–4: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.” Discovering our own death and resurrection in Christ’s is the great Paschal Mystery we celebrate faithfully week after week in the Eucharist. Even when we don’t feel very Christian, or when we doubt God’s graciousness, or when we feel the need to hibernate and hunker down waiting for better times ahead, we know our true life is “hidden with Christ in God.” The place of darkness and hiddenness can be the place of fertility, newness, and growth.

As we approach the holiday season ahead, I invite each of us to watch for cycles of death and resurrection. For some of us the holidays are joyful; for others they magnify feelings of grief and sorrow; and for most of us they are busy. But let’s not miss the Paschal Mystery this year. Let’s find ways to name losses in our lives and allow the gift of time to join our tears to those of God. Let’s find ways to celebrate points of resurrection—new jobs, healed bodies, reconciled relationships—knowing these signify the wholeness God intends for all people.

Wishing you light in the darkness,

The Reverend Deacon Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector