Tuesday (November 30, 2021)
You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.” For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:3-4)
During Advent we mark time. We count the days and the weeks through Advent until the Christ child is born.
During the first year of the pandemic, when most people were not making vacation plans or even travelling at all, social scientists remarked upon a simple yet profound observation. The negative effect that this had on people’s lives was not linked to the inability to go to the beach, to drive 12 hours to a national park,or to fly to Disney. What we lost was the joy of expectation.
Vacations in and of themselves do little to relieve stress. The costs of vacation, the burdens of travel, the expectations of fun versus the reality, and the let down upon coming home can sometimes be negatives. How often do you return from vacation even more tired than when you left? (Although don’t get me wrong I love and approve of vacations as much as the next person)
The true psychological benefit in a vacation is often found in the lead up to a break. The mere thought that you can get a break from work or school, the longing to neglect your email, the bliss that comes with the promise of not looking around the house and seeing all of those to-dos is liberating.
The season of Advent functions much the same way. During this time of year God gives us the joy of expectation. To mark this joy we light candles or uncover chocolate treats behind daily cardboard doors. And when the last candle is lit and the last treat from the calendar is consumed there is something waiting for us. It costs nothing, you don’t have to go anywhere, and once it claims you, you never have to worry about it letting you go. No matter the season, or the state of the world, we can always look forward to the birth of Christ.
Let us pray: Dear Lord, a thousand years are like a day to you. Teach us, therefore, to cherish each and every day and each and every week we have so that we feel and know your presence in the waiting and in the revelation of your incarnate love.
Peace in Christ,
Pr. Daniel Joyner Miller