On January 1, 2022 we will celebrate New Year's Day. Here is today's reading from the book of Ecclesiastes:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
The Greek word chronos means "time" in a quantitative sense, chronological time, time that you can divide into minutes and years, time as duration. It is the sense that we mean when we say, "What time is it?" or "How much time do I have?" or "Time like an ever-flowing stream," in one of the hymns that we sing. But in Greek there is also the word kairos, which means "time" in a qualitative sense—not the kind that a clock measures but time that cannot be measured at all, time that is characterized by what happens in it. Kairos time is the kind that you mean when you say that "the time is ripe" to do something, "It's time to tell the truth," a truth-telling kind of time. Or " I had a good time"—the time had something about it that made me glad. The ancient poet who wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes was using time in a kairos sense when he wrote of a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to keep silence and a time to speak.