I'm 350 words away from finishing my novel. (Well, I'm 350 words away from a document of 50,000 words -- I won't claim it's a novel yet).
So, on to Advent!
I was annoyed with our local classical station for beginning their "holiday" music on November 29. That's 28 days of Christmas music, folks, 24 hours a day. But I'll bet somebody a mocha that starting on December 26 it will be hard to find Christmas tunes anymore.
I would be more annoyed with MPR, but their selections are quite lovely, and I know some of the DJ's to be good Lutherans who will mix in some Advent tunes (thank you, Steve Staruch), and when else can you hear that much sacred music on a public station almost all the time? So, out with the Scrooge and in with the season.
O God our Help in Ages Past, by Isaac Watts
A thousand ages in your sight
Are like an evening gone
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.
This hymn by Isaac Watts is really just a straight-up rewrite of Psalm 90, which is an appointed Psalm for this week. If you know the hymn, you basically know the psalm. Placed in the "hope" section of the hymnal, it's more about time itself than about the seasons.
Historical trivia: Watts is considered the father of English hymnody in no small part because he rejected the Calvinist notion that congregations should only chant psalm texts, and nothing more. Some people to this day think the move to more creative lyric-writing for the church just opened the floodgates to a lot of theologically questionable "self-expression". In their minds, it's one slippery slope from Watts to "I'm so glad you're in my life. . ." But it's hard to make that argument based on this hymn, anyway.
Like an evening gone. Who hasn't, as a parent, felt like you just blink, and your child is a year older? Who hasn't come around to a Christmas and thought, "Boy, that year went by quickly." The psalmist, and Watts, affirm that God's time is not our time, which is a good thing, since my internal chronometer has a genius for making hard times last forever and good times go by in a heartbeat.
The color for Advent is deep blue -- that color you get when you can still see the stars, but the light is coming. Dawn is just around the corner. The night will not last forever. We can count on God's coming sure as the rising sun.