November 22, 2010

Nov. 22: An unexpected hour


By Bob Yoder, campus pastor

Welcome to Goshen College’s online devotionals for the 2010 Advent season! Our theme this year, taken from Mennonite Church USA worship resources, is “An Unexpected Hour.” Every Monday an author will introduce the sub-theme, whereas the following weekdays an author will reflect on a specific Scripture passage from the lectionary.

I am sure you have heard about the two kinds of “time” – chronos and kairos. An hour of chronos is a linear 60 minutes, but who really knows how long an hour of kairos time is? I would like to pose a third kind of time – child-time. Recently our four-year-old son came down with pneumonia. That did not fit too well with my work schedule nor my wife’s, who is also a congregational pastor. On one particular day I had meetings and she was to assist in leading a funeral. Child-time demanded a new outlook and response to our pre-planned activities. Child-time has also provided those wonderful opportunities of cleaning up after one of our kids when in the middle of the night they came to our bed and were ill.

Advent 2010 invites us to pause, to receive a different awareness of time – an invitation to do less rather than more. Each week’s theme contrasts our understandings of time with the imaginative ways God is remaking the world – through the joyful restoration of relationships among all God has made: humans and other creatures and the earth under our feet. When we stop long enough to notice what’s going on, God’s generosity and creativity surprises us, and as we catch the vision, we can’t help but respond.

The theme for Advent 1 is “Keep awake.” We are to keep awake for the anticipated intervention of God’s timing, yet not fully knowing when and how this will occur. Child-time has us live life in the unexpected, yet in a very expectant way. It has caused us to wake up in the middle of many nights, but it also calls us to keep awake to the wonderful realities and blessings of a child experiencing life.

I’ll confess, staying home with my son that “pneumonia morning” brought me joy when after he “scolded me” for some reason and placed his hands on his waist, his pajamas bottoms fell down since he had just stretched out the elastic band. We both looked at each other and began to laugh. Being awake in the midst of child-time can certainly have its “chuckle-ous” moments!

O God, help us to keep awake and anticipate the blessings of the unexpected hour.



Comments (14)

  1. I was so excited to see the first of the Advent Devotions in my in box this morning! Thank you for providing these unexpectedly fresh perspectives – a blessed way to start every morning of this season of miracles.

    Cathryn November 22, 2010 |
  2. Thank you for the reminder to slow down and stop expecting things to happen according to my own schedule. I will be reminded of this whenever I think “I don’t have time for this”. I am reminded that maybe I don’t think I have time, but perhaps God wants me to MAKE time!

    Susan November 22, 2010 |
  3. I was just about to delete this message without reading it because I didn’t believe I had the time to read something that would need some “think-time”. Then I read the first entry on child-time and knew that I NEED to still my life long enough to read these devotionals each morning. Thanks!

    Karen November 22, 2010 |
  4. What a lovely treat to find this message today! I’m so grateful for the witness of the Mennonite tradition, especially your commitment to peace, as it speaks to others like me who are practicing other forms of faith. I always look forward to your sharings during Advent and Lent.

    Anne November 22, 2010 |
  5. Thanks for the latest Advent devotions. Every year I appreciate them. God bless!

    Theo Yoder November 22, 2010 |
  6. Jesus said that we should let the children come to him…and this idea of child-time is a good one. The lists, the schedules, the saying that I don’t have time makes me pause and say where do I need to think in child-time today…so I might be a better neighbor.

    Janet November 22, 2010 |
  7. What a joy to open my mail and to see your devotion!

    Kerryann November 22, 2010 |
  8. Just what I am needing…a reminder to expect God in new and surprising ways that awake my senses. Just reading the theme and then the writing this morning have filled my senses with the Presence of our amazing God. Thank you!

    Maria J Thomas November 22, 2010 |
  9. Blessings! Thank you for these thoughtful and helpful devotions. Look forward to reading and pondering them.

    Bob November 22, 2010 |
  10. Thank you for continuing with the Advent Devotions. Child-time for me has always brought me back down to earth and gives me pause to quietly smile at what is so simple. Your Devotion today brought that same quiet smile to my otherwise hectic Monday morning at work.

    Paula November 22, 2010 |
  11. Hurray! The gift of a hopeful and loving voice is appearing again through your Advent Devotions. What a help to slow me in the midst of rush! What a great reminder to hold onto peace amid chaos! I eagerly await more messages!

    debbie November 22, 2010 |
  12. I was delighted to see the first Advent devotion in my email box! I so appreciate this ministry. I also thought of “Childtime” in light of how quickly time passes. They are babies, then, suddenly they are graduating from high school! What seems like an age that they will take ‘forever” to outgrow, in retrospect is only a small portion of our lives with them. I think of Childtime as a season of our lives that is pregnant with opportunities to make lasting and life-altering impressions in everyday moments–just like other seasons of our lives. Childtime brings a renewing and refreshing outlook, realigns our priorities and calls us to greater faith in a is soverign God.

    Carol November 23, 2010 |
  13. So true! Our children have much to teach us about our priorities.

    Laurie November 23, 2010 |
  14. yes we do need to think about new times. Child time is one of them we have just finished a week of lice. Talk about nit picking, primate and close but what an attentiveness getter

    Stu Buisch November 24, 2010 |