Time is Different Here. I can still hear my mom’s wise words from a dark December night many years’ ago. They feel as true now as they sounded to me then. Now as we stand at this threshold of the coming Advent season, mom’s words continue to resonate in my heart. How I came to hear these words from her is a story to tell another time, but I’m hearing her words now as clear as a Christmas bell – time is different here.
December has a special story to tell, filled with fall-into-winter particularities. During the time of Advent each night grows darker. Echoes of Decembers past fill our hearts and rememberings. As if they are close enough to touch, we can remember past carolings and hot chocolatings, remember colorful trees with lights and candles in windows leading us home. December time is somehow able to hold our hopes and fears, side-by-side.
My older son, Brogan loves a good wind chime. And this guy is very clear in that he loves only one wind chime at a time. On his growing up back porch there were always five or six or more chimes. It was not until years later that I learned that all those chimes were way too much for him. “It was too many colliding sounds, too noisy, it was way too much.” The word cacophony has always felt like a made-up word to me, but this word fits my understanding of what Brogan was talking about. And now as we near the end of 2023, cacophony seems like a pretty true description of how these days feel.
Each of us bring our own stories to this Advent season. Folks around me are facing life crises and changes, facing loss and grief too deep for words. So much holding on and letting. AND in our world, there is pain and destruction happening each hour of each day. As we listen to and watch the news in Ukraine, in Gaza and Israel, in the Sudan and in the Congo there is devastation taking place 24/7 that is incomprehensible and heartbreaking. Our global cacophony is bursting with sights and sounds of human pain and suffering.
And yet, and still Advent comes.
Mom loved this season of Christmas coming. She loved the cold and the dark of it, just as much as putting lights and ornaments on the tree. She loved the traditions of years’ past and our making of new ones. Her message of time is different here acknowledges the fullness of it all. This is not the ordinary, `nothing to see here’ season. Instead, for her and now for us, this is to be savored and shared, to be held as close to our hearts as we can. While we know so well all of our fearful places, Mom is inviting us to be interested in and to welcome the wonderful places.
Tomorrow the season of journeying to Bethlehem begins. This is an invitation for you and me to be intentional in our entering into the season of Advent. It is a welcome to the gifts and graces, traditions old and new of this journey leading us to Christmas. In this space I intend to write about how this season of journeying from here to Bethlehem is navigated by stories holding stories. We step out tomorrow knowing that each is holding her own story, each listening for a melody of comfort and cheer, each seeking to follow a star that lights the way. And so, we step out -- left foot, right foot.