Nature is rather predictable for the most part.
It has its rhythms and patterns, and they remain more or less consistent. The tides ebb and flow, the moon goes through its cycle of phases, the sun rises and sets at its appointed times, and the seasons change pretty much on schedule.
There are, of course, some exceptions along the way. For example, last year we had our biggest snow since I moved to Kentucky in November with winter still more than a month away.
All in all, however, nature follows its steady course year after year. Uninterrupted, nature has its own pace and doesn’t tend to rush things.
I believe we would be wise to note this attribute in nature and learn as human beings to not always be in such a hurry. Nature generally takes things slowly while we seem to want to rush everything.
Years ago, the country band, Alabama, had a song about the human tendency to rush through our days. The chorus ended with the refrain, “I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”
That could be the theme song for a lot of us. Whereas nature takes its time, we want to beat time.
The tendency to rush through life keeps us from living in the moment and from experiencing what God has in mind for us here and now.
Right now, a lot of people are in a rush to get to Christmas. As early as Halloween, I was seeing Christmas decorations around town.
“What’s the hurry?” I wondered, especially considering that Thanksgiving was still nearly a month away.
Might we not want to slow down in the coming days to do what the old hymn says and count our blessings?
According to the liturgical calendar, Advent began on Sunday, Nov. 29 – a period of hopeful, expectant waiting. It causes us to ask, “Why the rush to Christmas?”
It seems like in so many areas of life it is when we get ahead of ourselves that we get in trouble. There may well be blessings we will miss if we start focusing on Christmas too soon.
By paying more attention to nature, we may hear God telling us to slow down and take it easy.
We might also find the Creator urging us to develop a more “natural” rhythm for our lives, one where we are content to be fully present where we are and not be always rushing to get ahead to somewhere we would rather be.
When I listen to the waves on a beach, look above at the stars in the sky at night, or simply walk through a forest, I get the sense that God is calling us to find our place in this world just like the waves, stars and trees.
I truly believe our peace is in our place and that we will never fully experience the peace God intends for us if we mindlessly rush through life and are always getting ahead of ourselves.
Perhaps I’m wrong about this, but I don’t think so.
Chuck Summers is a pastor of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Henderson, Kentucky. He is also a photographer whose work has appeared in numerous national magazines and calendars; he has published three photography books. A version of this article first appeared on Seeing Creation, a blog that Summers co-authors with Rob Sheppard, and is used with permission.
Chuck Summers is a pastor of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Henderson, Kentucky.