Pause for Thought with Ray Dadswell: Here we go again

It’s that time of year! So much happening around me.

I’ll pause for a minute or two to think about all this stuff.

The clocks change, Trick or Treat, my birthday, Guy Fawkes, Remembrance Sunday, S.A.D., Christmas.

Talking of the clocks going back reminds me of the swift passing of time and, inevitably, a Bible verse comes up. A prayer from the prophet Moses: ‘Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom’ (Psalm 90, 12).

Referring to the growing influence of Halloween at the end of October, a double-thought enters my mind once more. The best treat ever, from a spiritual point of view, must be that Jesus has provided for our eternal salvation. And the trick? Surely that Satan, with all his cleverness,

persuades people into believing that the gospel story cannot possibly be true.

My birthday? I’ve had quite a lot of them. How gracious and kind God has been over the years, I recall, and the wonderful array of gifts and blessings I have received. A friend recently texted with ten wishes for the anniversary: confidence, patience, an adjustable attitude, excitement, fun, companionship, peace, love, beauty and health. Mulling over each one will be time well

spent, I realise.

500 years ago, government, guys and gunpowder, the plot against James I not forgotten. Not so many fireworks this year, it seems. But then, they are expensive.

I’m called upon still, in the words of Scripture, to ‘pray for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness’ (1 Timothy 2, 1-2).

Perhaps the need to observe Remembrance Sunday will diminish in the not-too-distant future.

But Christians throughout the world regularly remember their Saviour, of course, in the simple communion of bread and wine ‘until he comes’ (1 Corinthians 11, 26). It won’t be long before he returns, many of his present-day followers believe.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, the experts inform us, is a type of winter depression which hits an estimated 7% of the population between September and April, in particular during December, January and February. Symptoms there are many, including depression, sleep problems, lethargy, anxiety and sudden mood swings. The New Testament book of Acts describes ‘seasons of refreshing’ (3, 19), brought to us by the Spirit of God. So much more beneficial.

And last, looking forward to the biggest, craziest, most-celebrated festival in every twelve-month period. What are our thoughts on Christmas? Already the shops are crowded, the children are crying, the drivers and pedestrians are getting upset with one another. But I anticipate singing those marvellous words: ‘Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel.’ And there will

millions who rejoice with me in that truth.

Yes, this time of year. Cold, overcast and damp. But the Lord’s presence does not desert me.