November is an island between the heart-tugging October and busy, bustling December. Often overlooked, this contemplative month is a bench warmed in the sun, saying, "sit down, sit down."
An Almanac for the Soul ---N. Hiles
This is it: the clocks are about to change. We are about to shift from "saving daylight" to the steady march towards the longest night of the year. November is indeed a veritable no-(wo)man's-land that stretches between the end of summer and the promise of Christmas. One day shorter than its predecessor, November seems to go on and on. The air is not only chillier, it looks differently. The days are not only shorter; the nights seem heavier and somehow more serious.
I am not sure what this month brings for you. Perhaps the vanishing light induces melancholy; maybe the chill brings unwanted aches; or it could be that the lengthening shadows stir up internal shadows. I resist November; I endure November; but with the exception of the Thanksgiving Feast, I'm not sure that I anticipate or engage November. In the Gospel according to Mark, Jesus' first words are, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near..." If the Kingdom is indeed near to us, it must be near even in the tomb-like darkness of November. The Kingdom must be manifesting itself in spite of the clouds, the chill, and the damp. It may even resemble that sun-warmed bench the N. Hiles mentioned above.
Perhaps that is why the Church opens the month of November with the Feast of All Saints. On All Saints Day we are invited to remember those present and past who have pointed us towards truth and beauty we could not see on our own. Maybe the month of November is the invitation to contemplate the questions that we resist in our business. Who are we? What brings us joy? How are we spending our time? When was the last time we took the opportunity to sit down so that we might see God's Kingdom in our midst?
The invitation stands; all we need to do is accept it.