There is a sense of timelessness about Christmas. Our daughter lives in Seattle and one her goals in life appears to be, spoiling her two nephews, especially on Christmas Day. She loves them dearly. Cole, our oldest grandson will be four in February and Zane just turned one. Last week, a few days before Christmas, Cole told Cathy that he saw gifts under the tree. She told him that on Christmas Day there would be presents under the tree for him. With innocence and wonderment he said, “Gifts for me?”
For not being four-years-old, Cole knows everything about construction equipment. He knows all the about frontend loaders, backhoes, excavators, and cranes. He knows the brand name of the equipment by color. He knows the difference between a John Deere, a Caterpillar, and a Mack. So, for Christmas, our daughter bought him his own riding frontend loader with a backhoe attachment. She had it shipped to our house. When it arrived, looking at the picture on the box, I realized it had to be put together. I didn’t want our grandson to have to wait on Christmas Day for his dad and I to put it together. And for our daughter, I wanted to take a video of Cole when he saw this amazing gift she had bought him. So, I dumped out the nearly 100 pieces and four sets on instructions on the garage floor.
Honestly, I’m not very good at this kind of thing. But, being a grandpa, I started in. Truthfully, I lost track of time. After awhile, I was taken back in time to when I put gifts together for our children. And then, I began thinking about the Christmas when I was nine and my dad bought a basketball goal for our driveway. The day after Christmas being outside with him while he put it on the house. And then I found myself thinking about the Christmas’ I had spent time with my granddad, riding in his truck and listening to his stories. And that took me back to when I was Cole’s age, being with my great grandfather at Christmas. He was an enigma, a mysterious man.
While I was putting Cole’s little tractor together, I was caught up in a thin space of timelessness. I felt a connection with everything past. At that moment, everything past felt like it was present to me in that space. My great grandfather, my grandfather, my dad surrounded me while I was working on Cole’s gift. There was a deep sense of being fully present to the moment. There was no longer any past or any future. Everything was now. It was as if I was meant for that moment in time—that present moment was my purpose. Upon reflection, I realized that day in our garage was a very contemplative experience for me.
Today’s reading is from the opening of the Gospel of John; such beautiful, mystical poetry. I think John is sharing with us one of those holy present contemplative moments in his life when he was with Jesus Christ. John’s vision appears to be one those moments when he was caught up in the timelessness of his experience.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)
I can imagine John’s words were inspired by his contemplation on the scripture. The words from John sound like Proverbs, the Wisdom book of the Hebrew Bible.
“The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth…When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep…I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.” (Proverbs 8:22-31)
And the words from Proverbs sound a like the opening of Genesis, words I am sure he had memorized.
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness Night.” (Genesis 1:1-5)
I think John was sharing his contemplation of the scripture with us. John was seeing the Wisdom of Jesus in the Word of the Hebrew Scripture. John had learned from Jesus how to be caught up in timeless moment of the now…the moment when we are connected to the Divine.
In the moments of being caught up in the timelessness of God, there is no past and there is no future. There is only the present moment. We lose track of time. What happened in the past—is now—and now is the future—because we are here—now in this moment and time. In God’s time, “in the beginning” is now.
This means we can let go of the expectations and anxiety we have about tomorrow. This is the season of Christmas, the twelve days of Christmas. We are suspended in God’s season of timelessness. The season of “now.” We are not waiting any longer. We don’t have to fret about tomorrow. Twelve days of Divine completeness. “Twelve” is used 187 times in the Bible as a symbol of completeness; the 12 tribes Israel, the 12 disciples, the first recorded words of Jesus was when he was 12, the 12 gates of New Jerusalem are guarded by 12 angels—the Trinitarian number times the number of completeness. We are in the season of God’s complete act—we are in a season of timelessness—where there is no past and there is no tomorrow—there is only now. Jesus came to teach us to live in the authentic, raw, naked now of every moment of life.
The season of Christmas lasts until January 6. Until then, just for these few days, focus on the now, the very presence of being present to every moment. Live for this moment of time of being One with the Holy Living God