Gary - November 2019
Post date: Nov 23, 2019 3:22:13 PM
I hope that you will excuse me for starting this letter with a poem (not by me, but by Thomas Hood 1789-1845). It's called 'November'.
No sun - no moon
No morn - no noon
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day
No warmth - no cheerfulness - no healthful ease
No comfortable feel in any member
No shade, no shine - no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,
Is this an exact descriptive poem about the hopelessness of this often dreary month? Or does it rather describe a clinically depressed person who does not realise that bright health is near (not too far to Christmas), but who is so wrapped up in the repeated joylessness of November that s/he can see no joy at all? Is this how you regard November? All gloom and doom. Surely as God's people we should regard this month as a time for remembering and of preparation for Advent and the joy of Christmas?
'Remembering?' I hear you say. Well. what about the first Sunday in November when we remember All the Saints? All the Saints!! How many do you think there are, and how many could you name? (There is no prize for the nearest approximation). According to my .Dictionary of Saints (pub.1985), there are 881 - an obviously out-of-date figure. What do you know about St Lebuin/Labienus (f.d.12 Nov)? Or St Justus of Canterbury (f.d. 10 Nov.), or even St Laurence O'Toole (f.d. 4 Nov.)? Neither do I, but they are all there in the book. On the other hand, you will all know something about St Andrew (f.d.30 Nov.), particularly if you are a Scot. All Saints is, of course, followed by All Souls when we remember those members of our families who are no longer with us and 'in a better place and on a wider shore'.
On November 5th we remember Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. Perhaps we should have a re-run with the current Parliament to see if that might bring some sense into their current deliberations!! Five days later we have Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day, when we cast our thoughts towards those who were killed, maimed or injured (military or civilian) in two World Wars. We are now almost half-way through this gloomy month, but there is still joy to be found, because the last Sunday of the month - the last Sunday before Advent is the Feast of Christ the King, when we remember him as the Lord of Creation. If you are of an older generation, you may think of it as 'Stir-up Sunday' when , by tradition, all Christmas cakes and puddings should have been made!!
So November is not all gloom and doom, but a time for quiet reflection and joyful preparation. I began with a poem, and I am going to end with another, which I think is more in tune with these idle thoughts of an idle fellow, and presents a fairer picture of this month.
And November goes
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early
And dawn coming late
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing
And earth slips to rest
Until next Spring.
With every blessing, now and always, Gary.