Saint Mark Daily Advent Devotional – December 31, 2014
by Brenna Lakeson
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, the author emphasizes the fleeting nature of our lives. The style of literature and the theological themes in the book give insight into the circular patterns of our existence. These patterns are particularly present in this well-known passage, where the author tells us about the cycles of time through the juxtaposition of opposites.
This isn’t necessarily a positive thing for the author, though. He or she claims that no one can “find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” For the author, there is no method through which we can understand what God is doing in the world. Some people, like myself, find this discomforting. If there is no way for us as humans to figure out this whole life thing, we might as well relax and enjoy ourselves.
For me, this seems terrifying and difficult. I like to be in control. I like to know the answers. However, Ecclesiastes tells us that life is a never ending pattern of love and hate, seeking and losing, war and peace, and that there is no way for us to truly understand these fleeting seasons.
Despite my discomfort, this is true in my own experience. Life has thrown seasons of death and life, study and rest, change and stability, at me. In these patterns, I grow. While it’s usually not easy, making myself open to the changing seasons of God can generate beauty. The author of Ecclesiastes claims that, because there is no way for us to know and understand God’s plan, we should allow ourselves to relax and enjoy the seasons of life as they come. This is not an easy task. However, in this often busy season of family, shopping, planning, and preparation for the birth of Christ, allow yourself to rest in God by knowing, that, ultimately, our plans are fleeting and God’s plans, although unknown to us, are the ones that endure.
Prayer: God, Help me to rest in you, no matter what this season of life brings. Amen.