Sunday’s theme: Time
There have been some haunting songs written about moments in time, Simon and Garfunkel sang, “Time it was and what a time it was, it was. A time of innocence, a time of confidences. Long ago it must be…” And Jim Croce’s, “If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do is to save everyday till eternity passes away…” Melodies to encourage and nudge us into marking the moments that hold us and our lives.
Tomorrow promises to be a moment in time, a “once in a lifetime event’. The Bethlehem Star is set to appeared. We are told that it will be brightest 45 minutes after sunset and that is the best time to stop and see. Jupiter and Saturn are aligning and in that coordination of space and time, we will have a glimpse of history. We all know somewhere in our heads that histories (or herstories as many of us have been known to say) hold in themselves – stories. Records passed from one to another, stories witnessed and shared. Many of us have grown up with the story of the three kings following a star which, we are told led them to Bethlehem and the manger. Tomorrow night those of us who have eyes to see, will have a glimpse of that story, as well. Perhaps more in my heart than in my head, I am looking forward to seeing. I’ve already scoped out a place to watch. And to wonder. And to wait.
It’s honestly too much for me to imagine what the world was like 800 years ago when this was said to have last happened. And it’s hard for me to get my head around what life like will be 800 years from now. Too much. What we have and what we do know is right now. What we have and know is this moment. Not forever. Just right now. This life-event is a good reminder of the preciousness, the possibilities and the power of this moment. This life-event is a good reminder of our participation in the wondering and the witnessing of this moment. It invites us to take stock of what matters most for you and me in these days.
And I know that as I am writing this, the event occurs tomorrow, not today. My son, Brogan and I were walking one-night last week and stopped briefly to talk with a gentleman who was using his phone and looking up at the sky. Now that I think about it, maybe the guy was an angel. Now that I think about it, the whole time I’d been walking with Brogan I’d been listening intently and looking down as we walked along. Maybe I was concentrating on what he was saying, or making sure I didn’t trip and fall, but I remember I’d only been looking down. Now that I think about that walk I took with my son and the appearance of the gentle man with his phone – maybe his message was a reminder to just look up. Look up and look around, look around (Yes, that song from Hamilton just ear wormed its way back into my heart), “how lucky we are to be alive right now.”
Here, right here in the midst of a global pandemic, as one of the hardest years of our lives is limping to an end – right here, two stars are aligning. They are bright enough for all of us to see. They are bright enough to get our attention. A star appears to all of us on the darkest night of the year. Let your heart come circle all around this moment of your story.
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"Time is different here," I heard my Mom's voice say a couple months after her death. Journeying through these Covid-19 days, remind me of the gift of those words. You are invited companion me on this 2020 Advent journey to Bethlehem, as we seek Emmanuel, God who promises always to be with us.