From the Rambling Rector
Enjoy the moment
This thought was triggered when the news was full of the fact that the supermarkets were selling Easter Eggs immediately after Christmas. It was still Christmas. In a way shops cannot be criticized for this, as their response is that people are buying them, so they are only satisfying demand. If we didn’t buy, they wouldn’t stock. So maybe this needs to be aimed at those that create demand, which is a whole different subject.
Just have a think about what you spend your time planning to do, and when it arrives, you just skip onto the next anticipation. I have met some people who spend their holiday planning the next one, without taking the time to enjoy the current one.
Some people spend such a lot of time recording events for the future, that they miss the event itself. When I went to a premier league football match, I spent so much time trying to record a goal being scored on my phone that I missed it altogether, which is probably why when I was once asked by a wedding couple to request that guests did not take photos of the wedding ceremony ‘so that they watch with their eyes and not on the screen of a phone’, I was pleased to oblige. I would like to add that photographs can create good memories, and help to relive the moment; but it is not the same as ‘being there’.
Wedding couples spend a lot of time preparing for their wedding day, and that day goes so fast. I nearly always remind bride and groom to enjoy their day, without worrying about every little detail. Worrying about the reception during the wedding ceremony will only serve to prevent the enjoyment of the wedding. Worrying about the evening events during the reception will prevent the enjoyment of the wedding. Yes there is a time for preparing, but if it stops the pleasure in the current, then life will be less fulfilling.
Not all memories need be good ones. One year, many years ago, I went camping in Cornwall and the wind and rain literally blew my tent down and irreparably damaged it. We had to pack up our campsite in the middle of the night. This coincided with breaking the exhaust pipe on my car the same day, so we ended up driving home in a very noisy car, soaking wet through and freezing cold. Yet that is a camping memory that has survived as much as the good holidays.
Christmas season includes Epiphany and lasts for 40 days, ending on 2nd February, when Jesus is presented in the temple, so it is possible that it is still Christmas season by the time that you receive this magazine. St Peter’s Square in the Vatican will take their nativity scene down at the end of Epiphany. A very different scenario from taking Christmas decorations down on Boxing Day and getting out the Easter Eggs. Lent begins on the 22nd February, being a preparation time for Easter. On Shrove Tuesday, traditionally we use up the luxury items in the house by making pancakes as preparation for the 40 days of Lent. This is much more akin to living the season, as for 40 days we give up things, or take on new disciplines. Easter lasts for 40 days, ending on Ascension day. All these seasons give their best benefit if time is taken to meditate on their meaning. So, when Easter comes on 9th April, take time to enjoy the celebration.
Easter itself has many different days to it. Maundy Thursday is the celebration of the last supper, with the declaration of betrayal and the harsh warning from Jesus about his arrest and execution. Good Friday marks the pain of Jesus’ execution, the church is bare of decoration. Holy Saturday is a day of desolation as Jesus is dead and not with us. It seems that all is lost. Then on Easter Sunday we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead, the greatest triumph possible, demonstrating that there is a heaven, forgiveness of sins, hope for us all whatever our background. This provides for the biggest celebration we can have. Yet, somehow the celebration is not possible without spending time going through the individual days of the Easter Triduum. This is a good example of something that can get completely lost if we do not spend time on each part.
We are in the depths of winter, awaiting the warmth of Spring and my hope and prayer for this month is that you enjoy and value each day, whatever it is that you do with it.