Here is a portion of this morning’s Advent Project devotional, written by Rev. Dr. David McNutt, Associate Editor at IVP Academic and Professor of Theology and Philosophical Aesthetics at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. I have genuinely been loving this devotional series. And I am also grateful that it continues through the “12 days of Christmas,” therefore ends on Epiphany and not tomorrow.
“Let Evening Come”
by Jane Kenyon
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
“What shapes our understanding of time as Christians? Of course, as embodied creatures, we live under the same reality of time as everyone else. We set our clocks back (or forward) like others. Our taxes are due on the same day. We have parent-teacher conferences, trash pick-up days, doctor’s appointments, and church services that rely on an agreed upon understanding that this is when such-and-such will take place. And yet, as followers of Christ, our understanding of time is – or should be – quite different than worldly views. For Christians, time is part of God’s good creation and therefore falls under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, through whom all things were made (Jn 1:10; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2). Thus, it is the season of Advent and our collective anticipation of Christ’s birth, not January 1, that marks the beginning of the Christian year. In today’s world, this practice is almost an act of defiance. No, my calendar is not determined by the next mattress sale, soccer tryouts, or the first snowfall. My time is marked by the Lordship of Jesus Christ. On this Christmas Eve, we praise God, for we witness the fulfillment of the promise found in Isaiah’s prophetic words. We take comfort in the fact that the eternal Son became incarnate. We take comfort in the fact that he has come into this world, which is so often a series of winding, bumpy roads, in order to make a straight, smooth path. We take comfort in the fact that he bound himself to time, becoming truly human. And we can also take comfort in the fact that Christ is the Lord of time – not just of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but of all time. Indeed, as the eternal Son and Word of God, he is the Lord of the “time before time” and the “time after time.” So, in the words of American poet Jane Kenyon, we can say, “let evening come.” Yes, let evening come. Let evening come because we know what awaits us in the morning. Let evening come because our Lord is the Lord of time.”