Why November Reminds Me of the Book of Ecclesiastes

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Ecclesiates 3:1

Photo by Vegan Oazïs on Unsplash

It’s a month to mourn and a month to dance

The book of Ecclesiastes is found in the Old Testament. It addresses life’s hard questions and doesn’t provide any pat answers. The author is unknown, although many believe it may have been written by King Solomon. It is a poetic book that uses metaphors and allegories.

The purpose of the writing is to argue that there is nothing on earth that is capable of giving meaning to life.

In chapter 3, the author lists opposite experiences that, although they may seem random, have a purpose in our life.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 NIV).

When I think of Ecclesiastes, I think of November.

November has been full of highly unpleasant experiences but also delightful ones.

It’s the month I lost my best friend, Morty (Sue). We met in my first-year university. She made me laugh so hard I’d have to hold my sides. She died in a head-on collision before she was 40.

It’s the month I lost my granddaughter, Talia. I was in the delivery room with my daughter and witnessed her birth. She lived with us in the in-law suite of our home. She died of SIDS at the tender age of 7 months.

But it’s also the month my other granddaughter, Sophia, was born. She recently turned six and started grade one. She calls me Oma and loves to play Crazy-8s, bake muffins, and play hide-and-seek with me.

Although I won’t begin to understand the purpose of these events in my life, I find peace in knowing that God is sovereign. I find peace knowing that although nothing “under the sun” gives meaning to my life, my Lord does. His purposes won’t be thwarted. There is eternal value to both the challenges and the beauty of the experiences in my life.

Despite the weary tone of Ecclesiastes, it is an encouraging book that provides a message I can cling to. I can trust in the Lord. God has a hand in my life, now and forevermore.

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