Stick Season

posted Nov 23, 2018, 4:41 PM by Tricia Sheffield   [ updated Nov 23, 2018, 5:47 PM ]

Grace and peace to you! I hope your Thanksgiving was joyful, and that you were surrounded by a feeling of love.

In Vermont, they call November “stick season.” This is the time in-between the months of October, when thousands of people travel to the state to see the beautiful fall colors, and December, the very busy ski season. During this time, the trees have lost their leaves and all around the state are large maples, birch, and oak standing tall and stately as bare, wooden statues. As I looked out the window this morning at the forest around the church property, I realized we in New Jersey are pretty much in stick season. Everything looks dead, with varying shades of dull gray and muted brown.

But this is an illusion. Nothing is dead; all is very much alive. As I realized this, I wondered, for what is creation waiting? Do they have their own sense of expectation and longing as we humans have?

As we end our liturgical year with our Youth and Children led Reign of Christ worship this Sunday, we will then begin the church year with Advent, a time of waiting and expectation. Knowing this, and in my musings about the trees, my thoughts traveled to you all. What is it for which we are waiting? For what do we long? What are our hopes? It’s so easy to get caught up in what the world says we should hope for, or to whom we should look for our faith, and on what we should wait, but as I type these words the lyrics to the hymn “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” comes to mind: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ love and righteousness . . . And I was reminded what the Reign of Christ really means for us as followers of Christ with this excerpt from the Companion to the Book of Common Worship, “As the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, Christ is the center of the universe, the ruler of all history, the judge of all people. In Christ all things began, and in Christ all things will be fulfilled. In the end, Christ will triumph over the forces of evil. Such concepts as these cluster around the affirmation that Christ reigns! As sovereign ruler, Christ calls us to a loyalty that transcends every earthly claim on the human heart. To Christ alone belongs the supreme allegiance in our lives. In every generation, demagogues emerge to claim an allegiance that belongs only to God. But Christ alone has the right to claim our highest loyalty.”

It’s stick season, but nothing is dead. Indeed, we are all very much alive, and yet, we are waiting. Our faith is secure in the fact that Christ does reign, and we will be reminded come Advent that what we are waiting for is nothing less than hope and the beautiful gift of unconditional love.


In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish