It’s that time of year again. No, I don’t mean Christmas or even Advent. I mean finals. One of the great ironies of graduate school, especially of theology school, is that the period that directly precedes Christmas doesn’t really allow for good Advent reflection. It’s a time crammed full reading frantically, writing frantically, editing frantically. It’s a time of oral exams and papers and in-class finals and a whole mess of stress.
This year, it’s really kind of snuck up on me. For the past two years, our finals have been after Christmas. Which, while I then spent Christmas break doing homework, was far nicer than having everything due before Christmas. This year, I barely have time to write this blog entry because I have so much homework to get done between now and Friday.
But there’s a theological lesson in all of this. When I finally arrive back in God’s Country (Minnesota, for those not in the know) on the 16th, I will have exactly nine days in which to cram all of my Advent preparations (as well as the practical things like, you know, buying and wrapping presents, writing a Christmas letter, getting Christmas cards in the mail sometime before Epiphany). But that’s okay. Because I’ll be able to really enjoy it without the cloud of work hanging out me. And sometimes, a few days of uninterrupted joy are better than a full month of preparation. Sometimes, it takes the stress of papers and life to remind us that peace is a lovely, lovely thing. And so, like this blog which should have been written last week, a little time spent in Advent is better late than never.