Bookends of Time

Ahhhhhh. It’s that time of the year. Magical, it seems to me. Not the upcoming “holidays” of our American Christian lives. I’m talking about the perfectly bookended times in between.

1st Bookend Time

We’re starting our first bookend now, that fulsome (yes, I used fulsome in a blog post in 20221) time of the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The church calls this period Advent, and sometimes I do too (you can read about this really odd one here.) My problem (isn’t it always my problem?): I can’t seem to stick to the script.

Advent for me isn’t solely about awaiting the Christ child’s coming into the world. It’s about God in the world. The presence of the divine in this fabulous, surprising, frustrating, developing world. So these weeks after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, I live on edge, anticipating, wondering, watching. I live delighted, as if every day I’ve uncovered a tiny blue flower under the snow, loving the flower and the glistening snow and my wet gloves scooping the coldness aside to expose the petals to the sun. Amazing.

2nd Bookend Time

Then we get another bookend time: the magical week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Don’t tell anyone, but these seven days might be my favorite, favorite of the entire year. Ever since I was a child, the quiet time at the tail-end of the year has seemed like an extra week. A gift, a bonus. One where the flurry of the world slows down, with businesses lulling and demands receding. During this week, I can do WHATEVER I WANT. Never mind that I now live in a way I can pretty much do whatever I want every damn day. This week gives me permission to do that.

All my life, for this week that rolls out the year, I’ve fallen into reading. I would get books for Christmas then pow! I’d hibernate for a week, lounging on my back with a book held over my head or curled in a big chair with the book propped on the chair arm. A literal bookend time.

Why These Times?

Why am I drawn to the ellipsis between? The hiatus? The moment of the drawn breath? “Ordinary time” the church calls it when no particularly special church season is underway. And, yes, every day is ordinary time in our collective world. But somehow the bookends of the spectacular seasons in my life highlight the profundity of the regular days in-between. They give me a frame. They focus on it. And so do I.

So happy In-between Time to you!

love, your crazy blogger friend

ps if you follow the earlier “links inside links” to Facebook, you won’t get anything bc I’m off the platform!

When Godzilla attacks, only Celluloid Santa steps up to defend Tinsel Town.

Advent, god in the world, Reading

Comments (4)

  • I am glad to know that Godzilla is still around and that celluloid Santas are being vanquished. As for your bookends, they are also a delight, in that you are seriously into books at this time of year. If you like you may copy my tee shirt/bumper sticker: “So Many books, so little time.”
    Btw even the Congregationalists do Advent.

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      #Godzillaforever! Ha, ha–I need your bumper sticker! Several years ago, I resurrected my childhood Xmas list and asked my mother for about 10 novels by Hispanic-based authors (they were old; they were cheap; they were great.) I might give myself such a gift again this year…Thank you for visiting. It’s good to hear from you.

  • When you were writing about your 2nd bookend, I was thinking about the old calendar, like Roman Empire old, when there were lots of festivals around the winter solstice that celebrated light. For early Christians, this was a way to celebrate undetected. There are other theories about the timing of Christmas toward the end of the year, too, but there is a long history of the end of December being a special and set-aside time. I hope you enjoy your bookend times this year.

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