They said it was so. I didn’t believe them. What did they know? They were old.
I’ve become one of them and now I know they knew what I did not. What I now wonder is: Did what they know make any difference or did they just keep on doing what they were doing in the manner they had always done it? There is a bigger question. Now that I have become one of them and now know that what they knew was true will it make any difference in what I do or the manner in which I do it?
Life is short and time moves swiftly. That is what they knew and I now know. It wasn’t always so. Once upon a time, a zillion years or so ago in a magical land called childhood, life was forever and time stood still.
Life wasn’t forever, which I should have figured out—great grandparents died and pets were buried; but the great grandparents were very old and the pets met with misfortune (a neighbor with a short fuse and a fast trigger). For the most part, time stretched out beyond the horizon. There was no end in sight.
What I didn’t understand was that the horizon was curved and that time’s line didn’t just keep on going forever. I know now. Time has circled and kicked me in the butt. It’s threatening to pass me. What happens when it does?
I don’t know, and I’m not too much bothered by the unknown. Along with the recognition that life is short and time moves swiftly, age has brought something else . . . an appreciation of the present. It is all I have, all I’ve ever had. My sin regarding time is not that I failed at an earlier age to understand its fleeting nature. My sin is that I spent too much of each present striving for the future.
The world’s gone crazy . . . or maybe it has always been crazy. What else explains throwing away life in Eden for the taste of one forbidden fruit? The craziness begs me to bring sanity; and for much of my life, I’ve sought to do that—ever striving to find a way to make tomorrow a better, saner place. As I look around today, it appears I’ve not been all that successful. Crazy still seems to reign. Young people who don’t know better live as if they have all the time in the world; and old people who do know better sigh at what they know and do again what they’ve done before. Oh, my . . . .
Wait! From somewhere amidst the craziness a voice is heard. Awake! Awake! Salvation is nearer than you think. The night is far spent. The dawn nears. Awake! It is the call of the muse of Advent, bidding us see our lives and our world from a different perspective.
The muse of Advent dares us to believe that time is saved only by living it and that the future is secured and redeemed only in the present. Awake! Live! Life is a gift from God and it is yours. Live it. The rest belongs to God. Leave it.
Can this be true? It must be for once upon a time, a time present in history, a child was born and came to live among us. They say he was the Son of God. What say we?