December is ‘fallow’ month here at The Village.
It is a time when we pull back from the big pull to be super busy during the Christmas season. No hustle and bustle. No crazy schedules. No programs and extra practices. No exhausting rehearsals. No frantic shopping sprees. No madness. The concept of ‘fallowness’ is found in the Bible; Every six years of cultivating the fields was followed by a ‘fallow year’: “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused (Exodus 23:10).
Naturally, to allow the field to lay ‘fallow’ every seventh year is wise agriculture since doing so would allow the soil to be replenished, increasing its fertility,. However, while this may have been the result of the ‘fallow’ season, it was not the primary reason for it. In verse 11 we find the simplest purpose of ‘leaving ground fallow,’ namely, that the poor may eat and, after them, the wild beasts. Further, regarding their spirituality, observing a ‘fallow season’ was, at its core, a practical expression of the Israelites’ faith in the God who would provide for their needs; in sum, it was a larger ripple in the flowing rhythm of Israel’s weekly Sabbath observance. Simply, God desires refreshment for His people; this is the primary intention of Sabbath or ‘Fallow’ observance.
Therefore, in this spirit, The Village community, with rest and refreshment in mind, has traditionally held December as a ‘season of stillness’ or fallowness. It is intended to provide ‘space’ in your life so that you can be still & listen for God’s voice & simply rest in His presence; Jesus Himself calls this ‘the better thing’ (Luke 10). A word to the wise: while practicing fallowness will refresh you, it is also likely to agitate you; your specific issues will surely arise. For me, since I am performance driven, ceasing from being productive strikes at my issue of finding worth and value – my identity! – in what I do. Being fallow is a needed corrective to both finding rest and refreshment in Jesus but also freshly aligning my self with my new identity as a beloved child of God. How does fallowness rub you?
For our community, December is the season when we slow to a snail’s pace to allow space in our lives to hear from and engage God in new and vital ways. It is a time to seek and find spiritual, emotional, and physical refreshment. It’s a time to be still. To listen. To confess. To rejoice, reflect. To read & relax. To smell, see, feel, hear & taste life in fresh ways. To visit family & relish friends. To serve others. A time for walks. For children. For laughing. To catch up on crying. To do all the things we long for during the Christmas season but don’t take time to do. Is “fallow”easy during your busiest month? Nope; its really hard; it is both counter intuitive & counter-cultural.
But for those who have actually taken the risk & experienced it, it is surprisingly . . . Kingdom consistent!