Think Fast! I remember these words from a silly game we played as kids. Hearing these dreaded words meant when you turn to see what was happening, there was a basketball already headed towards your head and only quick reflexes would keep you from getting knocked in the noggin. A variation of the game was to wait until someone had their lunch tray, shout “think fast!” and see if they would drop their tray in reaction even though nothing at all was coming at them. I never understood the point, other than adolescent boys express fondness by constantly testing each other.
Some days I feel like I am in a big, cosmic game of Think Fast. Living in the 21st century is like being on a crowded playground with several games happening at once, each one demanding part of my attention. React to the Frisbee, and toss it quickly to answer the phone. Balance the check book and pay bills while jumping rope. Plan dinner while waiting a turn at bat. Check in with family during the quick time out before free throws. Think Fast! And that is the expected stuff, without taking into account weather, poor health, or family crises.
Too much thinking fast leads to an anxious life, and it feels impossible to make all the right moves as we careen through the day. We need space to “think slow.” As much as I enjoyed recess and games, I also loved time in school to just sit at my desk and read and be alone with my thoughts.
As you look at the church calendar, it looks busy in the month of December, with caroling, candle-lighting, potlucks, and pageants; Hanging the Greens and Christmas Eve. I encourage you to see these events as a time to “think slow.” Advent rituals serve to ground us in the reality of God that underlies all our being and all our days. Advent is the beginning of the church calendar, a season when we are called to watch and wait, to stop doing our thing and prepare the way for God’s thing.