"A wizard is never late, or early. He always arrives precisely on time", claimed Gandalf.
Well, maybe...but I am no wizard.
The temptation to try and squeeze in "just one thing more", the endless distractions of people, words,pictures, means I am often rudely, shamefully late.
Deadlines are both a blessing and a curse, building up pressure to an almost unbearable degree at times, but ensuring that generally everything gets done in the end.
So I was struck by Maggi's observation that Christmas often feels less like a festival to celebrate, more like a deadline to be grappled with...
And a deadline,of course, is the trip wire that stretches across our time, crossed at our peril...one step over the line and we're dead. Not much to look forward to...though earlier today I read of a nineteenth century cleric who greeted his death with words the gist of which was "Hooray and about time too."
But, despite the madness, I do look forward..to the two endings of our Advent journey... When the busyness stops, the church door is closed softly and we too find ourselves kneeling at the manger on Christmas day...
And when our life journey ends, when we no longer see through a glass darkly for the glass has been removed and we see face to face. On my ember card when I was priested 8 years ago I quoted the psalmist.
"One thing have I desired of the Lord. This is what I seek. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple."
That lies at the heart of my Advent longing...that sense of straining forward to glimpse what lies beyond the horizon, the limit of my sight.
Not a deadline after all...