by Jenny Arnold
On 21 December, the Northern Hemisphere where we live, will enter the Winter Solstice which will last until the Spring Solstice on 21 March 2021. This is a God ordained period in time for it is when this place on Earth we call home is furthest from the Sun in its rotation and orbit around the sun.
Creation will already have entered a period of dormancy and hibernation. Deciduous trees, plants and shrubs have already shed their leaves and certain animals will have found a place in which to rest and see the winter out in a state which is not death but life and is called hibernation.
In a way, we have all been in a state of dormancy since the global pandemic was released upon us, and we do not know when we will emerge from it.
I don’t know about you, but I have been forced to let go and shed many things during this time. Some of these have been selfish whims and needs which, in truth, have not been that difficult to lose but there have been others which have been much harder to bear.
Loss is usually painful and needs a time of adjustment and bereavement. As a believing Christian, saved by the blood of Jesus, I trust that God is at work in my life through the act and acceptance of shedding those things He has asked and wanted me to do. I am not saying I am there yet! Acceptance can be a long process…
As with times of hibernation and dormancy during winter, we all need times of dormancy, waiting and rest which can lead to renewal – if we choose it and believe it to be a necessary refining process in our Christian walk.
The Sacrament of Letting Go
As part of an Advent Meditation I have undertaken, the poem below has had a profound effect on me and I would like to share it here as I believe that it will have an equally profound effect on someone somewhere reading it.
For me, I needed to shed my dependence on people and material things of this world and instead turn to Jesus as the centre, the source and the light in my life. This is not an easy path to tread and many, many will have trodden it before me, but like Creation, I am awaiting renewal and trusting that Father God knows my future, has planned it, and that it is the right way and the best way for me.
Wobbles there will be and have been in abundance but, just as a tree in autumn does not usually shed all its leaves at once, then we cannot shed and be refined all at once; either solitary leaves stubbornly remain until perhaps a very strong storm at last makes them lose their grip.
I have adapted the poem, ‘The Sacrament of Letting Go.’ You can find it in the book, ‘Seasons of the Heart. Prayers and Reflections, Revised and Expanded,’ Harper Collins, 2012 by © Macrina Weiderkehr:
‘Slowly she celebrated the Sacrament of Letting Go
First she surrendered her green
Then the orange, yellow and red
Finally she let go of the brown
Shedding her last leaf
She stood empty and silent
Leaning against the winter sky she began her vigil of Trust’
And Jesus said: Why do you worry about clothes?
Remember the flowers growing in the fields
Do not fret about what to wear
Yet, I assure you not even Solomon in all his royal robes was dressed like one of these
‘…She stood in silence wearing the colour of emptiness
Her branches wondering
How do you give shade with so much gone
And then – The Sacrament of Waiting began
The sunset and the sunrise
Watched with tenderness
Clothing her with silhouettes
They kept her hope alive
They helped her understand her vulnerability
Her dependence and need
Her readiness to receive were giving her a new kind of beauty
And celebrated together
The Sacrament of Waiting’
And Jesus said: Now if that is how God cares for the wildflowers in the fields which are here today and gone tomorrow will not God all the more care for you?’
Jenny – The Sacrament of Letting Go