So what time of my life is it?
I’ve lived through adolescence and young adulthood and now I’m about to spend my first 40-something Christmas season.
What time is it again?
It seems not exactly like yesterday that I went traveling to Brooklyn at midnight on the subway when I was a freshman at Fordham with my roommate during this crazy hectic time. Or the time I went Christmas shopping before my radio shift on Christmas Eve. It seemed like before I never thought that there wouldn’t be enough time.
Christmas has become more of a mature, time-measured holiday. There’s advent services to plan and Christmas comes early for college students so we plan an early liturgy and there’s the inevitable shopping that needs to happen (mostly online these days!). And now that I’m in Buffalo, there’s the need for traveling during the holidays and finding dog-sitters or paying extra fees so that my dad can get to play with the dog, who he loves.
One of these days, I won’t have any more time with mom and dad.
Where does the time go?
Before you know it, it’s your 40th Christmas. You have a wife and two mortgages. There are planes to catch and colleagues who respect you and look to you for advice and depend on you. You’ve become a mentor to younger people and have accomplished much. You have a lot less hair and it’s a lot harder to keep the weight off when you eat donuts. And your parents have now been married for 60 years.
Where, oh where, did the time go?
The time really didn’t go anywhere. The time is just another way of measuring YOU. It’s a reminder of the good and the bad of life. It’s the skinned knees and broken bones along with the trophies and the accolades. It’s the anniversaries and the annoyances. The births and deaths and all the events in between.
I’m not sure what time it is but I’m sure that time continues to march on whether or not I care that it’s doing so.
Do I notice the time?
This past week I got to spend time (a strange term to begin with) with my wife’s family–namely her sister and brother in law and their five children. It’s not a long period of time, but those kids were little when they were in my wedding and now one is choosing colleges to attend and is turning into a mature young woman. The youngest, who is my favorite (and I make no bones about it), is now 11, a great age. All she wants is more time with her Uncle. I get sad when I leave her and her siblings and have grown closer with all of them. Soon they’ll be teen-agers and will be less interested in me, giving time to other matters and squeezing me in between band practice and boyfriends.
Do I notice how precious even a little time with them is?
Time, like advent, is an eternal marriage of intention. God intends to love us whether we notice it or not. That doesn’t stop with the turning of the seasons and calls us to remember how we love others as time passes by.
Our reminiscing this advent time calls us to ask ourselves if we can recall the depths of God’s love for us. It must seem like yesterday to the One who once lay in a scratchy hay filled trough with confused, but faithful, people who somehow said yes to God’s plan of salvation. While the pain of the cross is in the distant past, it must seem like mere hours ago for the God who hung for people who still don’t get how much God loves us sometimes.
As time marches on, what time might it be, for you? What is God calling you to this Advent? What do you recall as time, well spent and how might you use this time of waiting for God to come amongst us in a way that might propel you to change the times of your life that you’re not all that proud of?
We all notice that time continues to tick tock its way past us. None of us can stop the hands of the clock. But we can notice how we measure ourselves over time and even how we measure God’s action in our lives.
For this could be our last advent…our last Christmas. It is sure to be someone’s last time around the block that we know…and time is not careful about marching past us and leaving our loved ones behind.
Does anyone really know what time it is?
No, we don’t. But we do know that it is always time to love….
And time to be loved by God.