A hit song from the musical Rent asks the question how do you measure the length of a year? The song calculates the length of a year as 525,600 minutes. It muses too about measuring a year in terms of love. Moses authored the ancient song that says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
So how should we measure a year? How should we divide and number our days?
Christian tradition sought to divide the year by walking through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. That is the scaffolding behind the church calendar which begins at Advent. Advent recognizes the season of anticipation before the birth of Christ.
When Christians celebrate the tradition of Advent, in essence they are confessing the historical event of God taking on humanity in the incarnation of Jesus. They also confess their anticipation of the second coming of Jesus (also called the parousia) at the end of time.
How else do we number these days between Thanksgiving in America and the end of the year? Black Friday is a celebration of its own. It’s the day that most retailers celebrate their profits rising out of the “red” of debt into the “black” of profit. It’s the last quarter of the business year when employee reviews are being performed, bonuses for performance are being considered, and next year’s goals are being set.
Schools are anticipating semester ending exams followed by winter breaks. Many college students return home for the first time (most with empty wallets and laundry in tow). Christmas plays, pageants, and performances pepper the evenings of parents and students of all ages.
While final assessments are being made about 2016 what will you do in the next month? Will you pressure yourself to engage in commerce? Will you spend into the red while stores go into the black with profit? Will you forget what is really important in the midst of holiday hustle and bustle? Or will you take your time? After all, it is your time.
How will you number your days?
My invitation to you is to read this blog between now and Christmas. Each day I’ll post a passage from the Bible and briefly talk about how it relates to the Advent season. I’ve taken the passages from the Robert Murray McCheyne Bible reading calendar.
This year I’ve been using McCheyne for my daily Bible reading. The calendar has four readings a day, so I’ve gone through each day’s reading and found a portion relevant to the anticipation of Christ’s coming at Christmas to share with you.
There are so many different Advent calendars available today, but this one is unique to me because it wasn’t created as much as it was discovered. I’ve discovered that each day I can find at least one passage from this year-long calendar that makes reference to Advent or the Incarnation and its significance for the Christian life.
May the Lord bless you as you ponder him this Advent season.