by Deacon Stephen Bowling
What is it about “growing up” that makes time seem to pass by so much faster?
When we were kids, things seemed to take FOREVER.
Just waiting for dad to come home seemed to take an eternity. Nap time seemed to take FOREVER until I finally got permission to read quietly while my two younger sisters slept. The theme music from “Days of Our Lives” still makes me a little sleepy as my Aunt Lucille used to watch it religiously . . .
And now, everything just flies by.
An hour is barely a moment to get something done; a day seems to end shortly after it begins. Your favorite TV show is suddenly in its 4th Season (“The Vikings” on History Channel) and the little girl you used to rock to sleep every night while singing along with John Denver’s “Poems, Prayers and Promises” is suddenly 24 and in her own apartment.
And yet, we still wait.
We wait for the election cycle to end, we wait for the best deals to arrive with the holiday shopping season and we wait for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to fill our schedules with events . . . and hopefully some good cheer too.
Time it seems truly is relative, subjective and elastic. Time is what we make of it; we can have it last FOREVER or have it run by in just a blink. And therein lies one of the lessons set forth for us by the season of Advent.
Waiting is not something to be afraid of . . . waiting is simply a different way of expressing what should be known as the blessed activity of “taking the time.”
Time is indeed a gift to us all, and yes, as we know, it is ultimately finite. Advent reminds us of this in its scripture readings like in Matthew 24:42 with its admonition of “Stay awake! You do not know on which day your Lord will come!”
Time is precious and waiting is indeed a gift. Our task this Advent season is to once more recognize this and appreciate what we have for what it is. Today really is the first day of the rest of our lives; the gift of time is ours to appreciate.
I truly hope that each and every one of you takes the opportunity to appreciate the time which you have been given this holiday season . . . and may God himself be with you during your celebrations!
Being grateful only if prompted by the season or a feeling of obligation of some sort is not what we are called to as Christians. As followers of Jesus Christ and good stewards of everything we have, gratitude is an act of humility and an understanding as to who is truly responsible for what we have . . . someone who, in the end, is not us but God and God alone.
In this wonderful season, it is our duty not just to “do something out of gratitude” or even “try and be grateful” for what it is we have. Our challenge is to examine our innermost selves and make sure we are ALWAYS grateful for EVERYTHING we have, and to have such a belief shine forth in everything we do.
And as we all know, this is easier said than done sometimes . . . fortunately we need not worry.
If we find ourselves falling short of this attitude as part of our general make-up, God’s grace can bridge the gap for us, and remake us all new . . . we need only seek him out in the sacraments and resolve, just as we do every time we are in the confessional, to do better going forward.
Something else, for which, we all have a very good reason to be grateful.