Yep, Christians have our own definition of “season.”

by K.W. Leslie, 30 December
SEASON 'si.zən noun. An indeterminate period of time during which something happens.

Properly a season is a well-defined period of time. But people like to play fast and loose with how well-defined it actually is.

As soon as the weather switches to cold, whether that’s in November as usual, or freakishly earlier like September, people (Game of Thrones nerds included) start talking about winter: Winter’s coming. Some will go so far as to say winter’s here.

Winter’s not here till the winter solstice, which in the northern hemisphere is 21 December. Winter is defined by the time between the day of the year with the least daylight, and the next time we have equal day and night. Ends at the vernal equinox, 20 March. But that’s considered the scientific definition of winter, the too-literal definition. Winter means “the cold season,” however long that season lasts.

This sort of fudgery also happens with Christmastime. Again, Christmastime has a defined time: Starts on Advent, which begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas; ends at Epiphany, 6 January. And again, people figure “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” as soon as the stores start selling Christmas things—right after Halloween. Half of them object in rage: The Christmas season starts on Black Friday! Period! The rest of us actually like Christmas, and don’t mind it stretching back a little further. But it ends, as we all know, at midnight 26 December, when it’s time to take down the tree… then start debating whether Kwanzaa is a real holiday.

But as you notice, the human tendency is to take something which has limits and boundaries… then sand away at those edges till they’re nice and soft. Or till they break, and the contents spill over into whatever form we’ve invented.

So, “season.” As defined as ordinary seasons actually are, whenever we Christians start to talk about seasons, we don’t always talk about their boundaries. We don’t usually know them. We might know when a season began—we know it after the fact. But we don’t know when theyll end. We don’t know when the next one is coming. We don’t even know what the next one will consist of. We know what we hope it’ll consist of: We want it to be a season of prosperity, of joy, of blessing, of hope, of grace, of miracles, of anything positive. We’d like the next season to be better than our current one. Especially when the current one sucks, ’cause it could be a season of depression, of sorrow, of suffering, of hardship, of poverty—and we want it to end, and be replaced by something much better.

Where’d this term come from?

Why do Christians use the word “season” to describe these time-periods? ’Cause of Ecclesiastes. You know the passage—or at least you know the Byrds song.

Ecclesiastes 3.1-8 KJV
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

As you can see, these “seasons” aren’t always predictable time periods. This week it’s a time to get; in a month it may be a time to lose… unless it’s a time to gather stones together. We don’t always know we’re in it till we’re in it.

Hence we get Christians who talk about the season we’re in… and it confuses newbies and pagans who are used to seasons being a little more predictable and planned. “We’re in a season of preparation? Great!… What’re we preparing for? When do we expect it to end? Has God set a date?” I mean, we’ve been in the Last Days ever since Jesus went back to heaven, He 1.1-2 and we know he’s coming back, Ac 1.11 but we don’t know when.

We know God has some plans in mind. We comfort ourselves by quoting, out of context, that bit where he promises Israel he has great plans for them; “plans to prosper and not to harm you,” Jr 29.11 NIV which we hope applies to us too. And sometimes so.

But a lot of times we’re pretty sure we’re not getting told about “the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Ac 1.7 KJV Many of us figure God alone gets to know the future, and our duty is to wait on him and hope for the best. Me, I figure it doesn’t hurt to ask. Sometimes he’ll actually tell us.

Planning ahead.

Odd thing is, even though Christians don’t always know when our “seasons” will change, some of us make plans anyway. You know, like the Christians who put off certain things till their “season of favor” finally kicks in. They claim they can’t minister till the “season of anointing” comes round. They can’t give to charity till their “season of blessing” makes them financially able to. They needn’t bother praying for miracles until the “season for miracles” starts up. (Cessationists figure that won’t happen till after the rapture, though.)

Problem is, some of these plans for the future have in them a either a whiff of fatalism, or wishful thinking, or they’re used as a convenient excuse to procrastinate. Supposedly we can’t do good deeds—not effective good deeds anyway—or help others, or get help ourselves, till the next season. Which may in fact never come.

Y’see, some of these so-called “seasons” aren’t marked out by God at all. They’re based on us. They depend on our actions, our obedience, our willingness to get off our comfortable heineys, us stepping out in faith and doing as God commanded. It’s not that God’s withholding; it’s that we’re not doing. Or taking. It’s our own fault.

It might be that God’s withholding, ’cause he’s waiting for us to grow up. You know, like the dad who bought his daughter a car for her birthday, and would love to give it to her early, but first she’s gotta be old enough to drive. Or mature enough to stop texting and driving at the same time. Same with Christians: If we never grow up, and become the fruitful kids he wants, we’re never moving to the next level. Presuming these grand changes have nothing to do with us—that we’re predestined for this status in our Christian lives, and can go no further, for who are we?—means we’re gonna stay stuck. Like the addict who blames everyone else for her messed-up life.

Yes, some future plans are wholly up to God—like the next task he has for us. But we gotta prepare for these things properly. Too many Christians put off ministering now, ’cause they don’t know the future. Or they’re constantly preparing for a future “season of ministry”—and their preparation is why they haven’t bothered with any present ministry. I’ve known plenty of Christians who believe God wants them to do missions work—someday. Meanwhile they’re doing no current missions work, for practice. Which is dumb. You don’t prepare for the future by doing nothing today!

Regardless of what season we’re in, or think we’re in—regardless of what season’s next, or we think is next—follow God. Do the good deeds he sets before us. Prepare for whatever he has coming our way. Never use “next season” as an excuse to put things off. Since we don’t know when the “next season” comes, act like it starts today. See what happens.