Weekly Reflection – The Changing of the Seasons

02 February 2024

A year and a half ago I was writing what I thought would be my final ‘Catch-up’ reflection. It was a meditation on endings and beginnings and the joy of finding beginnings in endings and appreciating afresh the starting point of one’s journey. As TS Eliot reminded us in his poem Little Gidding, ‘The end is where we start from’. It was an apt metaphor, for having journeyed to Bristol Cathedral shortly after I wrote it, here I am once again writing to you, having returned full circle to where I first began.

As a liturgist, beginnings and endings are integral to what I do; they help to shape the ecclesiastical calendar, a calendar where seasons and ordinary time, feast days and fast days give light and shade to our worshipping life and move us on in the story of Christ’s life and in our mission and ministry to the world around us.

For example, the 2nd of February marks a liturgical end-point and a new beginning in the Church’s year. It is the feast of Candlemas, the festival which celebrates the presentation of Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem, where Simeon and Anna (who had been longing for the signs of God’s redemption of the people of Israel) greeted Mary, Joseph and their baby with joy. At its heart, Candlemas presents us with a meeting between birth and death, childhood and old age, hope and grief. It is a liturgical ‘hinge’, if you will, between the celebration of Christmas and the emotional rollercoaster of Holy Week. And so, Candlemas both ends the Christmas cycle – the final ‘hurrah’ as it were of the festive season – and looks ahead to the events of Good Friday and Easter Day.

In the cathedral the crib has been finally packed away, the green vestments of ‘ordinary time’ have been dusted off once again. Very shortly Lent will be with us and we will experience the changing of the seasons, from the darkness of winter to the fragile light of spring, from the rigours of self-denial and penitence during Lent to the festive joy of Easter. Endings become beginnings; beginnings have their end.

As I begin my new ministry here at Wakefield Cathedral I look forward to journeying through these changing seasons with you all, and I pray that they will bring light and shade to your own lives. In the meantime, as Christmas heads out into the ‘wilderness’ of Lent, I’ll leave you with a medieval poem about Candlemas:

‘Now have good day, now have good day!
I am Christmas, and now I go my way.
Here have I dwelled with more and less
From Hallowtide till Candlemas,
And now must I from you hence pass;
Now have good day!


In Christ,
Canon Kathryn

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