Advent freaks me out. First. we talk about the end of time. Then about the birth of Jesus. And finally on Christmas morning, we get to “In the beginning was the Word.” It’s a time-machine moving backwards while our clocks tick forward. In the midst of this, I, like many preachers, remind everyone that time is not linear: God was and is and is to come. Jesus came, is, and is coming. Mind-bending stuff.
This year is particularly mind-bending in Watertown, MA, because most of November has felt like June. The people who study this stuff tell us that it’s been the warmest November since forever in these parts. I’m sitting in a cafe right now, hearing “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” and thinking, “No, it’s not!” I don’t even have a coat with me.
I took this photo on my way into the cafe. Nothin’ but blue skies here. But the scripture reading for Sunday had Jesus saying how “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light….” When is The End? Where is The Beginning?
I think the best “orientation” I found today was in the stories I heard from people. I spoke with several people whose lives have forced them out of the chronological and into the eschatological. They have been to the grave and back in various ways, and so they have a deep sense that there’s a lot more going on around here than could be marked on any calendar. There’s a truth that moves neither forward nor backward but all around us and through us. For them, Christmas doesn’t depend on the weather. God is with us, Emmanuel in good times and bad.
Have a nice Advent everyone.