Friday, January 2, 2009

Clocks and Calendars

A few years ago the clock on the clock radio in our bedroom quit on Christmas evening.
The clock had been a gift from my husband the first year we were married.
It replaced a turquoise clock radio I'd had as a teen-ager at home. The turquoise clock worked fine, except for the lever you used to set the time or turn on the radio. It had broken somehow, and if you wanted to turn the radio on or change anything, you had to use a pair of pliers.
My new husband wanted me to have something that worked properly, so he gave me the clock radio that sat on our bedside table for almost 35 years.
That radio was sleek, with digital numbers that glowed red in the dark, instead of a round clock face. We kept track of all kinds of time with that clock -- time to go to bed, time to get up, labor contractions, time to take medicine.
What is it about time and keeping track of it that fascinates us so?
We measure time, not just with clocks but with calendars. By the calendar, today is the second day of a new year, a new year still shiny with possibility. Our fascination with time extends itself to a great interest in first things: a first tooth, a first date, a first house; we remember those events as milestones in our lives.
In the Old Testament we read, “In the beginning, God . . . “
The story starts by setting the time, noting that it is “the beginning,” and then introducing us to the main character.
In the beginning, God . . .
For each of us, there is a point of beginning with God, a first time when we become aware of His work in our life. There is a time when we turn toward Him, or when we turn away from Him.
This New Year, which will it be for you?

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