It's that time already: Advent! Does your family do anything special during the weeks of Advent? Perhaps a wreath?
We have a wreath (must buy candles).
And so the story begins once again. It never really ended, nor did it begin. It always has been. God loves us and has loved us forever.
What does the Bear's visit to Israel and the book of Revelation and Advent have in common?
In Israel, it seemed that everywhere the Bear went, time was compressed, like an archeological tell whose layers had been smashed together into one. At the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, here was where Christ was crucified, and step over here to Adam's tomb. Look up into the Upper Room, and, in the same place, look down into King David's Tomb.
In the book of Revelation, past, present, and future are all at once. It is not so much that time has no meaning, but that it cannot contain the heavenly story. The woman clothed in the sun gives birth, the dragon will be cast out, the Lamb has been slain from the foundation of the ages.
So Advent is not just a memory, like Martin Luther King Day. Once again, we enter into the mystery of the Church's peculiar timelessness, and touch eternity with the tips of our fingers.
This Advent, the Bear will think to himself whether sometimes he has too much with time, and has lost the eternal perspective. For the dragon always wars against the saints and angels. And the dragon always lies defeated. Time cannot imprison the Babe in His manger. The Church is always reminding us that she owns time, not -- despite appearances -- the other way around. The daily cycle of Lauds and Vespers; the yearly calendar of celebrations Advent to Advent; and then again -- or is it only once and for all?