I recently asked a couple of friends when their year starts.
“January 1st, ” they answered in surprise.
Mine however starts in September. (Interestingly none of us thought of the year as starting in Advent!)
My time with children and in education has made me unable to see the year in any other way. July is a time of endings, September a time for beginnings.
But where does this leave August?
Apart from a cluster of family birthdays at the start, I don’t really care for August as a month; there isn’t enough going on. I enjoy holidays once I’m there but I don’t tend to look forward to them. By the end of July, I’m already thinking ahead to September.
But now, looking back on the summer, I’m starting to see August as a necessary month. It is all too easy, in our frenetic weeks, to ignore any idea of a sabbath. Sunday includes church but also a lot of other activities; often I use it as a time to catch up on chores. I don’t think I see it as qualitatively different from the rest of the week.
I started August with something of the same mindset – this year I was determined to get all the cupboards cleaned and sorted. But about half way through, especially with a couple of times away, I found myself relaxing into a slower mindset. August became a fallow time; I even went back to a couple of neglected hobbies.
I hope I’m ready now to start the year. I don’t think I would have been without August, the sabbath month.