October has always been my favorite month. On the sports front you’ve got football season in full swing, post-season baseball (yes, Cubs fans, there is baseball in October), and even basketball practices get started. Sorry, hockey fans, I’ve tried to like your sport but I just can’t. It’s a good time to be a sports fan.
Weatherwise, I enjoy the cooler mornings and warmer afternoons, and the transformation of the leaves into beautiful fall colors always highlights the season. “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy” (Psalm 92:4). There’s even some good motorcycle riding left in October.
Then there’s the fact that my birthday is in October, the 12th to be exact. I suppose everyone’s favorite month is the one in which their birthday falls. Maybe I’m just a kid, but I secretly still enjoy the special attention. However, with my youngest son’s birthday coming just two days after mine, much of that attention over the past nine years has been diverted to Toby. Oh, well. I’m going to stop counting pretty soon anyway.
And to top off October, I’ve found out that along with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, National Book Month, National CyberSecurity Awareness Month and National Bullying Prevention Month, among a host of others, this is also Pastor Appreciation Month.
A couple of weeks ago I came home to find two long-bearded thugs in my garage messing around with my motorcycle. Listen, if there’s anything you don’t do, you don’t mess around with another man’s wife and you don’t even think about touching his motorcycle. But before I could show them my best Karate Kid “Crane Kick,” it turns out the intruders were installing a new windshield on my bike. The whole operation, as I understand, was even being financed by a couple of tough gangs in town that like to refer to themselves as “Senior Men” and “The Ladies” Sunday School classes.
I would say the whole thing smells fishy to me, but not as fishy as the Jay Leno line someone posted on Facebook recently: “The National Aquarium in Washington is going to close. But don’t worry. If you’re in D.C. and you still want to smell something fishy, stop by the White House. They’ve gone from ‘Change you can believe in’ to ‘Changing the story until you believe it.’” Oh, the things I could say about the state of our political absurdity and chaos. America voted for change, and we’re sure getting it.
Last week I got a letter in the mail from my current health insurance provider stating that the new law (Obamacare) requires that I have maternity benefits. Talk about change! All I know is that if my wife finds out that I’m pregnant, heads are gonna roll!
If I could change anything about October it would be our culture’s fascination with the dead, our appetite for fright and enjoyment of all the ghosts and goblins and witches and wickedness we see around Halloween. Clearly for a Christian, we are called to walk in the light of Christ Jesus and have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness. And yes, I’m talking about the horror movies and TV shows portraying (and glorifying) all sorts of violence, gore and death. I’m talking about haunted houses that feast on terrifying young and old with evil images, scary scenes and the dread of darkness.
“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Christ Jesus has called His followers out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46). You’re not walking in the light when you’re walking through dark haunted houses, watching horror movies or reading books about zombies.
There is so much more, so much that’s better and true and good and wholesome and hope-filled and peaceful and life-giving when we’re living by the light of Christ Jesus and shining out that light into the darkness of the world. And let me offer my appreciation to my fellow pastors who preach that word of the gospel. May the Lord bless you and His church as you stay faithful in the work! Enjoy October!