In Iceland, because the winters were long, dark and harsh, folks had to spend many hours indoors, and a tradition developed in the evenings for something called a kvöldvaka. This was basically a storytelling session in the communal living area, to keep people awake and entertained while they did their “winter work” – spinning wool, knitting, making tools and so on. Someone would read from a book, people would tell stories, or recite poetry. During those long winter evenings, the kvöldvaka was an essential part of keeping people spiritually alive.
The kvöldvaka was also where the education of children took place. They were taught to read and write, and learned about history and geography through the telling and re-telling of the Sagas and other stories. It is considered very unique, for example, that even though the nation was so alarmingly poor, almost everyone could read and write.
Friends, this winter we have the opportunity to enter into this tradition not because the weather in California is anywhere near as cold, or because we don’t have anything else to do, but because this winter will be a unique time of hunkering down and being at home. The downside is not getting to be with people outside of our households. The upside is that we have the opportunity to spend time learning, reading and watching things in an intentional way in order to grow.
We all know of the option to just binge watch or read junk stuff but, let’s be honest, this doesn’t honor God or our call to be salt and light in this world. Instead, I exhort you to plan to choose what you do with your brain cells and your time with wisdom and intentionality. This past Sunday the host of our worship service asked us to share in the chat the name of a book which we are reading these days. (You can check out that list here for yourself, or it is also posted in our Facebook group.) What are some books which you might read to grow in faith, imagination, or cross-cultural ability? Are there movies or documentaries which will help you to grow as a citizen of the Kingdom of God or of this very global world we are in? I realize that some of us, especially those of us with young kids, barely have time to watch or read anything, but if you do, please think and pray about what you will read or watch.
What are the sections of scripture that you want to chew on during this next season? Personally, I am wading into the book of Lamentations and am looking forward to discussing it with a small group of pastors. Please don’t go long without really engaging with a section of scripture. Read it as if your life depends on feeding on the Truth of God!
As these days get colder, and you find yourself seeking a cozy spot with a warm blanket, I pray that your mind is being fed, sharpened, and stretched by things which enable you to see the utter worth and beauty of our God and the people who He made.
Love in Jesus,