Sir Frank Kermode (literary critic) once reflected: –
“Let us take a very simple example, the ticking of a clock. We ask what it says: and we agree that it says tick-tock. By this fiction we humanize it, make it talk our language. Of course, it is we who provide the fictional difference between the two sounds; tick is our word for a physical beginning, tock our word for an end…The clock’s tick-tock I take to be a model of what we call a plot, an organisation that humanises time by giving it form…Tick is a humble genesis, tock a feeble apocalypse.”
The grandfather clock ticking and chiming in the corner of the sitting room is a constant reminder of the passing of time, but what of the beginning and what of the end?
The season of Advent, the beginning of the Christian Year, carries many themes to do with fulfilment. The second coming of Christ is about God’s ending. However, as Kermode reflects, time is a human creation, tick-tock is our language. What really matters is God’s presence – his coming and his fulfilment in every moment. We do not wait, but we may need to awake to his presence in the now.