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It’s about Time. Advent Week Two

“Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years like one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

When I was a little girl, Advent went by very slowly, and it seemed like Christmas would never come. Now that I am an adult woman, the season of Advent is over much too soon.

Time is like that. How long did I suffer in pain, several hours dragging out in excruciating minutes, every second a seemingly endless torture? How brief was that wonderful family Christmas Eve, in all of its happy and loving splendor, which flew by in a whirlwind of wrapping paper and laughter?

Time seems to be more of a changeable perception than any reliable measurement. Perhaps … perhaps, there is no such thing as time.

Perhaps, there is only now.

During Advent, we celebrate and prepare for the coming, the advent, of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In the first couple of weeks, liturgical readings focus on the Second Coming of Christ at a particular moment in the future. The rest of the readings, however, and, really, the whole of our Advent celebrations, focus on the coming birth of Christ, the coming of God among us in the flesh.

But … He already came.

When we celebrate a person’s birthday, we really celebrate the age that that person is currently, we mark the passing of time as we treat every anniversary as a kind of milestone. Our birthday celebrations are not a reliving of the birth itself, anticipating and rejoicing as if the birth is occurring for the first time. But that’s exactly what we do at Christmas. This can be confusing, especially through the fresh eyes of a child. I remember when my little nephew voiced his confusion. Having just attended Christmas Eve Mass and witnessed the large cross above the altar with a carving of Jesus hanging upon it, he listened to me talk about Christ being born as he laid our figurine of baby Jesus in the manger. Earnestly, he asked, “But … isn’t he dead?”

Yes. Jesus is dead and buried in the tomb because it is now Good Friday and at the same time, in the same now, Jesus is born because it is Christmas and risen from the dead because it is Easter Sunday. Right now, Jesus is in the womb of His Mother as well as dying upon the Cross. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father and He is curing Mary Magdalene of the seven demons and He is sleeping in the manger full of hay and He is leading you by the hand into Paradise — right now.

Confusing? Yes, but that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t trust any religion that made perfect sense to the human brain, as if man were the measure of all things. Man is certainly not. After all, the planet that we call home and the universe alone existed for millions and billions of years before any human being did. The forming of our own universe occurred over an incomprehensible length of time, which was just a batting of an eye for God, a breathing of a word, a surge of love.

“Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years like one day.”

Why does the Church want us to hear these words from Sacred Scripture during the Advent season? To remind us of the Eternal Now. Why did St. Peter want us to be mindful of this fact of God’s sense of time being different than our own? Because we are impatient creatures. And forgetful ones, too.

God wants us to have peace in faithfully knowing and remembering that God’s promises to those who love Him are being fulfilled, will be fulfilled, have been fulfilled. God knows and holds our entirety in a way that is beyond our limited, earthly understanding. Although we may perceive and mark our earthly lives in a linear way, God does not. For this reason, our liturgical lives overlap and circle round, reliving and re-presenting the timeless reality of God’s incarnate presence, ever ancient and ever new — God With Us always, ever alive, ever-present, ever now.

“Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

© 2020 Christina Chase

Advent prayers to download, print, and pray with your family!

Click HERE.

Feature Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Christina Chase View All

Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.

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