One Advent theme that doesn’t get much attention comes from the idea that we live in the last times. That the world will end, perhaps soon and perhaps suddenly. The connected thought: As we head toward the end of our lives, there will be a host of “last times”—final events, thoughts and relationships that have graced our lives.
Examples: The last Christmas involving your whole family; your retirement farewell words to colleagues or the final payment you make on a loan. Other soulful, poignant or sad examples: Your very last hug with a dying spouse, the closing of your church, your final days in this home before downsizing into assisted living.
Last times can also be joyful. You might think of your final successful cancer treatment; the marriage of your youngest grandchild or the final work as executor of an inherited estate. In these cases, the ending brings relief. Maybe even a kind of rescue or redemption.
In the case of planned or expected finality, you have some control over what happens. In many other instances, though, the “last time” surprises you, leaving you with the lump-in-the-throat wish that you would have known about the ending sooner so that you could have observed its significance more fully.
The church year’s Advent emphases on the Second Coming add another twist to the “last times” theme: What seems like an ultimate ending is actually a beginning. (One of my favorite aphorisms goes like this, “Every exit is also an entrance.”) So the end of temporal existence also marks the beginning of eternal life. Each year’s calendar pages recycle themselves into January’s forward-looking invitations. Baby Jesus will leave infancy behind, grow up and save the world!
A blessing for you: Welcome into your days’ last times, and to what lies beyond them!
To receive these entries when they are posted, go to the upper right hand corner of the top banner and click on the three dots or parallel lines. Scroll down to the subscription form and enter your information.