I find myself rolling a question around in my mind more than I ever thought I would – “where has the time gone?” I heard my parents’ friends say, “I remember when you were this high.” I remember hearing my parents wonder how their children were not infants any more. I couldn’t understand what they meant. As I’ve experienced my fair share of full revolutions of the Earth around the sun (a fancy way of saying I’m getting older), I’m beginning to understand what they meant. Our son will begin middle school next year (apologies to my wife for bringing this up) and our baby will begin kindergarten next year. Our parents have now retired. Christine and I have to be adults (most of the time, we don’t like it).
I’ve found myself this morning thinking about where the year has gone. It seems like yesterday that Mike was announcing his retirement in June. All of a sudden, we’re celebrating his ministry with us and approaching his last Sunday with us as our pastor. After the summer (I’m worn out and energized, all at the same time), I always look forward to the fall where a lot of opportunities are happening though, at least in my head, things seem to slow down a bit (slowing down relative to the summer). All of a sudden, thanksgiving is a week away, and I’ve been hearing Christmas music for two weeks now (I actually boycott Christmas music until Thanksgiving happens).
I’ve noticed that I spend a lot of time looking forward:
- I can’t wait until my child can walk
- I can’t wait until my child can drive
- I can’t wait to retire
- I can’t wait until Christmas
- I can’t wait to have our new pastor in place (this isn’t a dig at Mike but a recognition that having a senior pastor in place lessens anxiety).
There have been times in my life that I celebrate the birth of baby Jesus again into the world, and as I think back to the Advent season, I realize a lot of it was a blur. Checking off lists, wrapping presents, going to Christmas gatherings, preparing for January 2016 in ministry, yada, yada, yada. I realize that Advent, a time of preparation for the coming of the Messiah, has passed me by again. I spent more of my time looking forward to December 25th and less time embracing the steps of the journey that leads me to Jesus’ birth. Will this year be any different for me? Should it be?
This is also a time of preparation for the next step of the journey that our church family will be taking together. How will we prepare? Will we spend our time only preparing for the day a new senior pastor comes, or will we take time to embrace this part of the journey?
Embracing today and looking forward to tomorrow – both are important. I pray that I can learn to balance the two.