We are in the midst of what has been historically called the “Dog Days of Summer.” You know, I’m fascinated by words and phrases. I get a real kick out of discovering their origin and how they fit into our understanding of the world around us.
So the dog days of Summer for 2021 are from July 3rd through August 11th. Did you know they had specific days and they are not the same every year? I didn’t know that, it was fascinating to me. According to Wikipedia, “The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius, which Hellenistic astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.” Another reference said, “For many, the “dog days,” evoke those summer days that are so devastatingly hot that even dogs would lie around on the asphalt, panting… Instead, the dog days refer to Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, which means “big dog” in Latin and is said to represent one of Orion’s hunting dogs.”
So the dog days of Summer are really those hottest days of our Summer in a particular year, but more importantly, they are designated based on the Astronomical movements in the skies above. This is why the days actually change from year to year. This is also true of how the dates for Easter change from year to year, it all has to do with the movements of the heavenly bodies.
Okay, okay, all that’s fascinating, but what does it have to do with anything. I’m thinking we are in the dog days of Summer and they are long, hot, sultry days. What do those days represent to us? These can be times of reflection on all the blessings God has bestowed on us. In the shade of a tree, a patio, a balcony, to look out on God’s wonderful creation and realize there is a rhythm to the seasons that God ordered and designed.
The writer of Ecclesiastes was writing from the perspective of one who had lived a long and fruitful life. The writer had experienced much in his long years, and reflects on what all that has meant and can mean. In the most famously quoted passage of scripture from Ecclesiastes, chapter 8, verses 1-8 we’re told…
“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.
The dog days of Summer provide us time and space to see what the seasons we’ve been through mean. We examine the produce of our lives, what has happened before that can help us as we move into the future. What have we done or not done, that has been a blessing to those we interact with? Has our time been fruitful or fruitless? Have we spent enough time in one activity, and not enough in another? All of these ruminations we engage in have their point in providing us a window into how we have connected our physical life with our spiritual one. What better time than those dog days to give due consideration to how what we say and do honors the God who created us all?
Blessings and Peace,