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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ordering Time

The mad rush from Thanksgiving to Christmas is pretty exhausting. The last two weeks we were out late almost every night. The weather is dark and cold. Everyone is sniffling and tired. New Years Eve looms ahead. I learned many decades ago New Years Eve is over rated. I am not a big time partier. I will open my house to my kid's friends and watch them celebrate.

There is a depth, though, to all of this. The end of one year and the beginning of another year is real. The US government thinks New Years is a big deal. If you do not make your contribution to the church by Friday at midnight then you cannot claim it as a deduction this year. The first baby born in the new year gets lots of presents, but the ones born the day before get a tax deduction. A few hours one way or the other means thousands of dollars! In real life there is such a thing as "too late." That is a deep spiritual law as well. There is good reason to believe that God also has set a time limit.

There is also the whole issue of new beginings. I have often said that as a young man I came up with such great New Year's Resolutions that I have been able to use the same ones every year! Get in better shape spiritually, physically, interpersonally, and mentally. Yes sir, that seems to be a need each year. A central tenant of Christianity is that "in Christ we are a new creation." One of the toughest issues for me is the lag time between 'being a new creation' ontologically and 'being a new creation' existentially. It has already happened and yet is is ongonig and slow. I am frustrated by how much of the old creation is still dominating me even as I am 'new'. But the Christian disciplines are the long, slow birthing process of the new man/woman. Daily prayer, daily Bible reading, daily acts of self discipline, daily acts of love and service. Imperceptible progress. Ordering time so as to become what I am.

When ordering time seems to be a waste of time I remember the stone steps into European Cathedrals. Thousands and thousands of people slowly wear the rock away. Not noticable with a single person, or even a hundred people. But after centuries the worn away rock is a stunning testimony to the effects of people walking up steps. I pray my soul (and yours) is impacted in the coming year by the Holy Spirit walking in us as we pray, study and work in the Kingdom!

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