I’ve been thinking about a MASH episode lately. It takes place between two New Year’s Eve celebrations held in 1950 & 1951. Col. Sherman T. Potter, dressed as Father Time, says “Here's to the New Year. May she be a damn sight better than the old one, and may we all be home before she's over.” In real life, it would take two more toasts to see things end in 1953. Time and fate are fickle things.
There’s a tradition at Christmastime that seems as though it’s been around forever, and it actually does go back centuries (I don’t know how many). It’s the tradition of telling the story of Christmas through actors. It’s called the Christmas play! This year, that tradition won’t be as wide-spread as normal. If it does happen, it will not be in a normal sense. Regardless of the changes happening this year, a Christmas play is a tradition that nearly all Christians have come to know.
One of the small challenges I face before Christmas is where to put the Christmas tree. Every year I commit to finding a better spot to raise the artificial greens, and every year it lands back where it was erected the year before. The problem is that our living room was not constructed to hold one more thing. The room is filled. One more item, like a Christmas tree, adds to a sense of clutter. The tree is beautiful; it’s what occupies the rest of the landscape that creates the problem. Making room is not easy.
The other day, Vicar Matt and I were discussing how the long journey with Covid-19 is affecting people. Many of us seem to be sinking deeper into a funk that expresses the loss, loneliness, chaos, and uncertainty of each day. There seems to be a cumulative toll being taken as we slog forward, now hoping a vaccination will bring the nightmare to an end. Our discussion was about how we might help people deal with this accumulation of emotional plaque in our hearts and souls.
Our theme for Advent this year is, “It’s About Time.” Advent is a season where we look back to the promises of God fulfilled eventually (don’t rush here) in the birth of Jesus. We look ahead to the time when Jesus Christ will come again to bring the process of New Creation to its consummation. Advent is about waiting with hope and patience for that time to come. Advent is about the present time of preparation for the way Christ comes to us every day, every hour. It’s about time.