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!