Devotion for December 31, 2020 from Pastor Tia Pelz of Christ the King:
“Between the years” is what Germans call the time squeezed between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It is this precious space in-between. Time is strangely weightless, haphazard, timeless during these days. At least, that’s how I always feel about it.
These are the days I hardly have any memories of, just a warm feeling of coziness and love and lots of hot beverages after a cold walk at the beach. It’s the time of the year when trying to reach anybody is hard, because time seems to be abandoned. No one knows or cares what time it is, or what day.
What counts is that it isn’t Christmas anymore with all its beloved traditions and expectations and that it’s not yet New Year’s Eve. Meaning, there are no duties.
Most of us stress until Christmas to get work done, work off appointments, buy gifts and make final preparations. Stress, lack of time and susceptibility to illness outweigh each other during this time.
And after the Christmas holidays?
Then it begins, the time between the years. It is a “not-yet-time”, as the apostle Paul puts it. Paul uses it to designate an attitude. The attitude to be vigilant, spiritually alert, open to new things, to the unforeseen, to the other. Open to God’s sign. That’s what Paul was waiting for.
I find the attitude of the “not-yet-time” exciting. It makes me alert and curious. It is not determined by rules of how to behave. Rather, it is characterized by the openness to get involved in the moment. Calendars are wonderfully empty. Most things can wait until the new year. It is a time beyond time. Another time that can be discovered and felt.
I love that time between the years. And I can enjoy it thoroughly because it’s a limited time. And maybe that’s why this time seems so enchanting and mysterious. One, that comes back every year. Until New Year’s Eve. Then there are more celebrations. More traditions, high expectations for a new year.
The time between the years is a given time. Time that is not as well timed as most of the other times of the year. The time in between is limited, has a clear beginning and a clear end.
As the year comes to an end, I wonder how to carry some of that “not-yet-feeling” into the new year. That ease and lightness, the time to read books and play games with the kids. It’s different from regular vacations, because there is nothing to achieve during these days. I can just be and that’s enough.
Maybe that’s a glimpse of what God’s concept of time is. Where time is like eternity and eternity is placed in time. Where everybody matters but nobody is taken too seriously. Where we are open to get involved in the moment, to be touched by people and their stories. To see God in ourselves and others. Because we take the time to look.
Wishing you all some in-between time in 2021, Pastor Tia!