Most of us do count-downs to important dates. There is an app called Twinkle that will keep a count going for all your important dates. I have it counting down to March Break, family birthdays, Easter, and my retirement (as a sort of joke since it so far in the future). That distance in the future is what I want to address today.
I don’t imagine there is anyone who does not start counting down the days as they near vacation time. We joke that it is bad when you start counting over a month ahead, but is it? I guess for things like my retirement, which is over 2000 days away, it would appear that I am very unhappy in my job and just can’t wait to get out! That would be bad! I do actually like my job, but I have plans for later and I guess that is where the change occurs. When we count down to something exciting, like a vacation, it is usually less about getting away from something and more looking forward to the change. When we are looking at some far future plans we may be simultaneously doing our best at our current, and working toward future goals.
In the church calendar we have two long periods of waiting, or counting down, to important events in the Gospel. We count down the days of Advent ending with the celebration of a birth (40 days of Advent, 40 weeks of pregnancy…coincidence?). We count down during Lent, looking ahead to the feast of Easter.
No matter how important a countdown is, a shorter one will take temporary precedence if we don’t guard against that. So March break is in a little over 3 days and that is exciting, but there is little to do in terms of preparing, whereas Easter is 39 days away and there will probably never be enough time to truly prepare ourselves to stand by that empty tomb and accept that Jesus’ great sacrifice and triumph over death was really for us!