On the Seventh Day of Christmas, we come to New Year’s Eve when people often think about time, taking stock of the use they have made of their time in the past year and contemplating a better use of it in the year to come.
Fill in the blank: Time is _________.
I expect most Americans would automatically answer, "Time is money." But Jesus and subsequent Christian tradition fill in the blank differently.
In Dante’s Purgatorio, those who are being purged of their sloth exhort one another with:
Faster! Faster! We have no time to waste, for time is love.
Try to do good, that grace may bloom again.
– ‘Purgatorio’, Canto XVIII, 103 – 105
To waste time is to waste the opportunity to love. That, in brief, is the sin of sloth.
We are reminded during this season that Love came down at Christmas:
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
– Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
It is the fundamental message of Christianity, however poorly it has been lived by actual Christians.
Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).
We have no time to waste. In the coming year, let us commit ourselves to lives that conform to the Love that came down at Christmas to reveal to us that at the heart of everything is God who is Love (1 John 4:7-21)