We all have specific calendars we pay attention beyond the standard calendar: school, gardening, theological, tax, politics, so forth.  I am ‘tuned’ to only two, gardening and theology. (tax and politics can go hang)  They are not in conflict in the way school (new year in the fall) and gardening (new year in the spring) are, but rather offset in such a way that they work together.  The theological calendar starts its new year in December for me, at the time when the garden is done for the year and I am looking ahead to the coming year.  Theologically, the calendar peaks in Spring, with the long summer stretching out ahead in a fairly stable pattern.  The same with the garden.

This, of course, is hardly accidental: the early Christians paid close attention to the climate in the Roman Empire, and the seasonal cycle for that bit of the world is roughly the same as it is in northeastern North America, if much milder.*

Consequently, I would have a horrid time adjusting my internal clock to Australia or South America.  All of this came to mind talking to my farrier on bitterly cold and windy morning, commiserating on holding horses in the winter and holiday plans.  He is originally from LA, and commented that he much preferred New England in the holiday season: ‘everything makes more sense’  (referring to Christmas trees, turkeys, and all that).  Obviously, one can have an excellent Christmas in Rio, or Melbourne, or Wellington.  But it is rather nice to be able to look forward to the holiday season, it takes the sting away from the fact that it is cold out there! And dark, and cold, and you can’t do anything outside that is constructive and dark and cold and…

Winter is closing in, but next year is already coming.**

*aligning the two calendars was as much about using the natural world as an object lesson/mirror as it was about politics/historical accuracy.  One need not get into the tangle of whether it was human manufacture or divine intent plus human manufacture

**I just hope winter holds off a little, as sexton of the nearby cemetery, I have a funeral that is coming up, and this cemetery follows New England tradition if there is snow or the ground is frozen one waits till spring, which is a little hard to explain to people these days. It looks like it will just squeak in.