Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Time Between Times

The busy-ness, the rush of the season all comes to press on the day - and then is followed by a kind of hush in time, a gentle stillness in which to settle back and enjoy the great gift of a few moments of leisure. Thoughts turn to tomorrow and the coming year. There are no guarantees, but chances are pretty good that you will receive the great gift of 365 days in the coming year. Before rushing into them, why not take advantage of this brief breathing space and think before the Lord about what you will do with the terrible gift of time. There is a kind of terror in receiving such a great gift. It is not a gift to be squandered.
Perhaps we could begin our consideration of the future with reflection on the past. What kinds of things over this past year have brought you the greatest joy? When have you felt closest to God? When furthest away? What made you laugh? Who was at your side in the year's best moments? What mistakes did you make that need to go in the "lessons learned" column? What opportunities did you miss because you were afraid? Are there any friendships with open agendas that need to be dealt with? When were you fully relaxed and at rest? Are there any regrets that need to be put to rest with forgiveness and, perhaps, repentance? What tripped you up most often? When did you feel fully alive in Christ?
Now, with that inventory in mind, turn your thoughts to the days ahead. How will you impose shape on those days to allow you to enter more fully into the great love of God for you? What deliberate steps will you take to explore the world of deep grace? What one thing about yourself will you finally embrace as God's gift to you - and to the world? Who will you choose to forgive, embracing a new future with them? What weight on your soul will you give up? What closely held and comfortable sin will you walk away from? What risk will you take for the love and glory of God? Where will you carve out the moments and days for deep rest and retreat? What will you do simply because it needs to be done even though you know you won't do it perfectly the first - or thirty-first - time? At what will you give yourself a break? Where will you be on the look out for the fruit of the Spirit?
What a great and special gift is this time between times! Oh for grace to be deeply present in it.

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