Here it is almost Christmas again. I have just seen a Facebook post reminding me it is only 3.5 weeks to go. This year seems to have disappeared at an astounding rate, and yet the statement I heard a little while ago about the fact that time travels at the same rate from one year to the next challenges me about why it all seems to pass so quickly.
Having recently come across some theories about the idea that time is actually not a constant, but can vary (not that I really understand this) maybe it really has passed more quickly!
I suspect that, in the context of the past year, it might be just wishful thinking to pass off the busyness as having been due to time going faster. In all probability, the apparent shortness of time has more to do with how much we try to cram into the limited time we have available to us.
And there’s the problem: trying to do too much in a finite period of time. The Christmas season is probably not the best time to be raising such an issue. There is always so much to do, so many people to see, Christmas parties with all the different groups of which we are a part, presents to buy and wrap, along with all the routine things of life which never go away.
If every year seems to pass more quickly, as for many of us seems to be the case, what are we to do? If there were an easy answer, then the problem of shortness of time would have passed into history and I would not be musing on such a thing. However, I am challenged by a friend of mine who seems to have life well ordered. She carefully plans into her week, month, year space to be herself, time to reflect, opportunity to step aside from the full diary or constant demands of the world and people around her. Whilst there are times when I can still see that she is under pressure, she seems to have maintained a more balanced approach to use of her time than I’ve managed to achieve.
I know that we are not all well-ordered in everything we do, but my friend awakens in me the hope, though often a faint hope, but hope never-the-less, that it is possible to step off the merry-go-round of life, even just a little, and regain control of my/our use of time.
Amongst all the excitement, busyness and engagement that the Christmas season brings, at its heart lies a renewed relationship, of God with God’s world. Behind all the glitter of the season lies the story of a new birth which gives rise, over a life-time, to renewed encounter between humanity and the creator of time, the creator of the universe itself.
Perhaps it is through engagement in that relationship, that my friend finds the source of strength to order her life in such a way as to create the space to make sense of the rest of the activity of life.
Rev Richard Johnston