Every December, my church practices what we call "fallow month". The idea is based on the Jewish law in Leviticus 25 where God told people to grow crops for 6 years and leave the land fallow on the 7th year. He would provide so richly during the 6th year that there would be plenty to eat for the time of rest. Also, poor people and wild animals could glean from the land that was untended.
This concept is used in farming even today -- usually farmers leave one section of their land unplanted and grow on the other areas, rotating the fallow ground over the years. This allows the land to remain fertile and resist disease.
We noticed that people tend to become very busy in December, yet this is a time for Advent -- awaiting the coming of Christ. And a time for enjoying family and friends rather than being overwhelmed by multiple events that are supposed to be festive but end up being distracting and stressful. So all the major meetings and groups close before December, and we prepare for Christmas by contemplating Advent together and not having a bunch of stuff going on. People are encouraged to make some changes in the way they live so that they can slow down, spend time with loved ones, show compassion to others, and worship God.
Eric and I are looking to spend some extra time with our parents & siblings this month. We're pulling way back on Christmas shopping & gift giving this year, replacing some of it with thoughtful letter writing. And on my blog, I'm planning to post fallow month updates and take a break from painting (although I may gradually wrap up the Seattle series). So here's to a restful month of looking forward to Christmas and to the return of Jesus, who will come again!