This Sunday, Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins. The most common response to this phenomenon is complaining about losing an hour of sleep. In part, this is because we don’t even need to change our clocks anymore. The internet does it for us. Further, it no longer seems necessary for most people. In other words, Daylight Savings Time has lost its purpose. Thus, to many, it is nothing more than an inconvenience that sneaks up on us once a year.
But what if we could give this seemingly pointless exercise new purpose? What if DST became something we looked forward to? Could it actually be a gift? What if it actually helped us grow in our faith and deepen our relationships? If it became these things, it would become a new opportunity for us to “move forward” with purpose.
This could include nature hikes, picnics, or just laying out a blanket and staring at the clouds. When was the last time you stared at the sky in wonder? Was it on purpose?Though surrounded by its beauty, we rarely take time to enjoy creation and immerse ourselves in it. By intentionally taking time to celebrate this gift, we will become more concerned with its care. Instead of seeing it as a commodity to be traded and harvested, we see it as a precious gift to be nurtured and shared. Deepening our bond with creation will also deepen our bond with the God who made it. (Psalm 24)
Read / Listen
Most of us move swiftly from one agenda item to the next. We may read a little here or there. Listening to the radio on our way to the next thing is common. But when was the last time you actually made time to read? When did you actually make time to listen to a moving speaker or your favorite music? On a more spiritual level, when was the last time you read your Bible? Have you taken time recently to simply sit and listen for God? One way you can give this season greater purpose is by working on your relationship with yourself and God. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, one temptation was to depend on his own power. “Turn these stones to bread,” Satan said. But Jesus responds, “humans do not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:3-4). Feed your soul.
Forgive / Reconcile
One of the greatest regrets of those who are dying is that they failed to make amends when possible with people they love. Don’t wait until that moment. With extra daylight hours available, why not pick up the phone, send a card, or meet for coffee with someone you need to forgive? While this is not always possible in a healthy way, it is often more possible than we would like to believe. Holding on to the hurts of the past only ensures a bitter and stagnant future. If you truly want to experience freedom, let go. In doing so, you may just find that you are more able to receive God’s forgiveness and acceptance. This process isn’t easy. It requires self-reflection and humility. We have to admit that we are wrong (something I still struggle to do) and trust that the other person will accept our apology. However, leaving this work until the end of our lives is damaging and keeps us stuck. Reach out for freedom. (Matthew 18:21-35)
Having worked on our relationship with God, ourselves, and one another, the best way I have found to move forward is through service. It is nice to be of help to others. It gives us purpose. Service also gives a sense of accomplishment that lasts beyond the moment. If I finish a work project, that’s great! But quickly there is another task. If I spend time helping someone, the task is accomplished and there is a lasting bond between me and the other person. Fundamentally, service has to do with practicing love. We give up what we want or need to provide someone else’s wants or needs. It is also the way of Christ. He put it to his disciples this way, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” How do we show that love? Through service.
A Brief History of DST (according to wikipedia)
Originally, the idea of Daylight Savings Time was a joke. Benjamin Franklin wrote to a Paris newspaper suggesting that it would reduce candle consumption and get “lazy” French people up earlier. One hundred years later, others began to advocate for such a system to allow for the pursuit of hobbies. During World War I, the notion gained widespread adoption. It helped reduce energy consumption and increase production, or so it seemed. World War II brought the end of most of these measures. Though in part a response to the energy crisis of the 1970’s, the U.S. adopted DST largely for uniform transportation times. Congress has since extended and altered it several times.