Reflection by Phil Bjornberg
In her book on the spirituality of time, Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time, Dorothy Bass invites us into a way of living in time that is alert to both contemporary pressures and rooted in ancient wisdom. She encourages us to reevaluate our understanding of our earthly lives and to participate fully in the Christian practice of knowing time as a gift from God. Embraced in this way, time need not be wrestled with each day. Instead, time becomes the habitation of blessing.
Properly ordering our day constitutes a faithful practice, not merely a logistical strategy to alleviate pressure; and time is not finally an avenger or an enemy but a holy gift,
"a meeting place, a point of rendezvous with God."
For anxious humanity, time is a terror. We stand on the vanishing point of an unstable and constantly eroding present, our past irretrievable and only faintly remembered and our future uncertain and full of peril. We have the unshakable dread that we are running out of time. We feel a desperate need to seize time, to fight time, to control time, to exploit time….to fill time to the bursting, and ultimately to kill time.
The assurance of the gospel is that God "has time" for humanity. God gives time back to humanity not as a threat but as a treasure, and with Christ, the Lord of time, there is time enough to do what we have been given to do. This understanding knows time as a godly gift that sings in every present moment of every today.
Mindful of our tendency to keep the frenzy going "day and night," we unite as one in noting that the book of Genesis insists on reversing human ordering of time to "night and day"—“In the beginning…darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light…and there was evening and there was morning - the first day." First, there was evening and then there was morning. In God’s creation, the day begins at dusk, and we begin with sleep, with rest, and with the clear sign that the rhythms of God's time do not depend upon our anxious labors.
Awaken to sleep, arise afresh.
This Advent and Christmas, wake up and take up God’s invitation to view every day as this day, as God’s precious gift of life to you day, as you and me and us day, as the whole divine humankind, kind and loving humanity shalom day, "this day that God has made."