Where did the year go?!
So many people have shared that sentiment with me in recent days. But this year I knew. I knew once the kids started school that the year was done — just turn around and blink and it would be Christmas. It wasn’t going to sneak up on me this year — and yet it did. As it always does. You can be going along praying the 2nd Joyful Mystery, and you think to yourself, “Okay, now for the 3rd ,” and your heart leaps because the sudden joy of Christmas has snuck up on you once again.
Christmas, where time opens to eternity and our world is invaded by its own Maker, seems always to do something odd to our sense of time. St. Augustine was the philosopher who gave the great psychological account of time — that ungraspable present constantly passing into past. Past existing in our minds as memory, the future as expectation, and the present: the merest fleeting experience of now, now, now.
Christmas changes that – changes our psychology of time. We are slingshot through Advent — pulled back and back and back through the ages to the very beginning of the beginning, where light was let to be, and man was let to be made and the very good world was crippled. We recapitulate the long longing ages of expectation. Anticipating what we already remember, we hear the promise whose very fulfillment has brought us to listen — to heed, to repent. And then we are arrested, by the now that never really becomes past, by the eternal moment of the Incarnation.
We stop before a stable; we peer in — dare we enter? No. But see, the Lady beckons, and so tentative, shy, we go forward. “Behold,” she bids us, and emboldened, we do. And adore.
Yes, the year has flown, but we Catholics will linger over Christmas well into January. It is one of the gifts of our faith — a real Advent and a real Christmas Season. Speaking of gifts, we at Catholic Exchange would like to take this opportunity to tell all of you, our readers and our writers, what a gift you are to us.
We pray that all of you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy a real Catholic Christmas Season — it will be over before you know it. Just turn around and blink and we will be in December 2010 and saying, “I can’t believe it’s already Christmas!”