“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Familiar words to most of us, Ecclesiastes 3 provides “timeless” inspiration for those who value the text and timbre of God’s word. “A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up what’s planted; for indeed, to everything there is a season.
And the season that is marked during the important time that leads us into the Christmas season, of course, is Advent. Advent calendars create and hold a necessary tension as we symbolically prepare the way and make ready for the great holy-day of Christ-mass. I emphasize the tension here for so many folks these days act like Thanksgiving is the flipped switch that gives us permission to begin our Christmas greetings and rituals.
With all due respect, without this tension waiting for the “long expected Jesus” we completely forget and disregard a tradition and an important component to our history as a spiritual institution; that when hundreds of years before the time of Christ’s birth the world longed for, and were sometimes awaiting impatiently, the fulfillment of the promised One; Christ the Messiah.
Most of us stop reading Ecclesiastes 3 at verse 9. But continuing, speaking of “time” the author reflects, “I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with.” Perhaps, before we get caught up in the hectic pace of holiday prep time we might consider getting quiet with these words in a time of personal Advent devotion.
For God “has made everything suitable for its time.” So, consider the possibility that you may have more time on your hands than you realize. Consider that “God has put a sense of past and future into (our) minds, yet (we) cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
And you’re going to love the next verse: “I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.” Use your imagination as you consider how you spend your time during these holy seasons (plural); that even in your toil God wants you to “take pleasure;” in moderation, of course!!
“God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. 15That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.”
Remember the theme song from the made-for-television movie, Brian’s Song? May this be our prayer as we end another year together as the community of Christ that we are.
The Hands of Time
If the hands of time were hands that I could hold,
I’d keep them warm and in my hands, they’d not turn cold!
Hand in hand we’d choose the moments that should last,
The lovely moments that should have no future and no past!
On behalf of your Plymouth Church staff and leadership, may the spirit of the Word Incarnate, bless you and keep you this holiday season and go with you in the hands of time. See ya’ in church.
– Pastor Bob