Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Six Weeks Till Christmas: Stop, Look, and Listen

In just under six weeks, those of us who observe Christmas will find it upon us again. The season of Advent begins on December 2nd.

I chose that word "observe" deliberately. Its roots mean "to watch." Sometimes it means to comment, sometimes it means to watch silently. Sometimes it also means to follow a rite, or respond to a rule. There's a distinction between being an observant child and an observant Christian.

The subway warning "Mind the Gap" implies both observing a physical reality and heeding the cautions of those who are concerned with our safety. It includes a verb, something we're supposed to do, even if that's only keeping our eyes open.  As that other childhood rule said, "Stop, Look, and Listen." We passively observe the days, months, years flying past, and there's nothing we can do about that. Even if we watch attentively, it doesn't slow them down. But we also observe by doing something to mark the seasons. To say that we've noticed, whether it's by marking a Calendar of Firsts or by addressing a stack of Christmas cards.

The Jewish world has just celebrated its New Year; and in the church year, the long season of post-Pentecost, post-everything-else is drawing to a close. In our part of the world, the days are getting shorter and the sky is often grey with threats of snow.  Of course the stores have jumped ahead with Christmas, but in our private (or communal) calendars, we can choose not to turn the page just yet.
What do you do in these last pre-Advent days? How do you observe them? Do you try to catch up, make up for lost time? Or are you preparing madly for December? 

No comments: