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Advent Reflection Week 2

Advent is a time of waiting – waiting which compels us to contemplate the mysteries of time and of eternity. Time is a mystery from which we finite creatures can never be completely free. All of us can remember occasions when time seemed to crawl by at an excruciatingly slow pace. Maybe we were ill, or worried, or bored, but we have all at one time or another wished time away – whether the days of slow recovery, minutes until the end of a meeting or work day, or as children wishing years away so we could already be grown up or incessantly asking on a journey “are we there yet?”

In our culture, we are not a patient people. What we want, we want now. What we find distasteful, we are apt to consider a “waste” of our time. We are lost without our calendars – we make plans and schedules we expect to be kept, and when, inevitably, things go awry, we are intolerant of delays.

Time is such a slippery thing to get hold of – how can minutes crawl by and yet years fly by with mind-boggling speed? I know that for me, this rapid passage of time seems to be increasing exponentially as I age!

We can’t control time by impatiently rushing forward or by retreating into the past. Then, what sort of relationship with time are we called to cultivate? The answer may be as simple as living in each present moment because we are also called to meet the challenges of the future and to honor the blessings and traditions of the past. I think that we are called also to transcend time – to live in eternity.

As a Christian, I believe that Christ’s incarnation makes this possible. Eternity and limited human time intersected when Christ was born, and God took on our humanity. We are called even now to live in eternity because we are called to “abide” in Christ himself. For us, this is a mystery which we can only grasp imperfectly now.

Even if you are skeptical, you can experience an imperfect mirror image of eternity in the pivotal moments of your own life. Reflect on your life and examine the moments that come to mind with startling clarity – moments that changed you forever. Don’t they seem lifted out of time – etched upon your heart’s memory – vivid and breath-taking, even in retrospect?