Yep, it’s Christmas. Number 54 for me; you do your own math. And without fail, the previous 53 brought the same curious mixture of busy-ness and stillness. No reason to expect anything different this year. Not sure I’d want to if I could.
No doubt about it, we’re in a hurry. Rush to the shopping center. Rush to the party (ahem, “fellowship”). Rush to the gift wrap. Rush to the country to see Grandma. Rush to do the normal stuff like school and work and church so we can rush to some other activity. We’re in such a hurry for Christmas, my Thanksgiving turkey got run over by a reindeer!
All the while we keep on fussing about being so busy and hurried. But I’ve decided the hustle is as traditional as visions of sugarplums and lights on the trees.
As long as I can remember, newspapers have reminded us how many shopping days we have left. The not-so-hidden message: hurry up! And despite our complaints, we oblige. After all, do YOU want to be the one that tells your kid that Santa ran out of Rock Me Elmos or Nerf Vortex Nitrons to shoot him with? Do YOU want to be the one who tells your little girl that she’s the only female on the street who doesn’t have the latest Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Doll? Who cares if the leaves are still on the trees and the World Series isn’t over? Who cares if there are four – count ‘em – four parties on one night? If you hurry, you can make ‘em all. And chances are, you’ll do just that.
Hush. What’s that silence I hear? Is anything quieter than Christmas Eve at midnight? The busy sidewalks, city sidewalks, dressed in holiday style, are abandoned. The familiar lights in town are dark; no Big Macs or movies tonight. Boy, is it quiet! Even noisy children are practically breathless, waiting for the sound of you-know-who.
After all the hullabaloo the next morning, it gets quiet again. After all the “Thank you’s,” “It’s beautiful’s,” and “Just what I wanted’s,” there is time to think. Time to appreciate the special people in your life. Time to miss those you’ve said, “Good-bye” to. Time to ask again, “What’s it all about?” You can’t do that with a lot of noise around. You need stillness. You need the hush.
Nazareth, about 5 B.C. Hurry up, Joseph! Get to Bethlehem. That kid’ll be born any minute, and like it or not, you’ve got taxes to pay.
Hurry up, star gazers! Something miraculous is going down, and you’ve seen the sign.
Hurry up, shepherds! It’s not every night you get a shout-out and a birth announcement from a Heavenly Host. Then hurry out and tell everybody what you’ve seen.
Hush. He’s sleeping.
Be still. His exhausted but grateful mother is looking at him with wonder.
Stand in awe. Heaven has invaded earth with the innocence of a baby. It’s a miracle, and you are its witness.
Bring Him your gifts, then wait and worship for a while. Life will get noisy again, and you’ll return to the sheep or the stars or the carpenter’s shop soon enough. But for now, it’s Christmas. You’ve hurried enough.
You see, the more things change, the more they stay the same. So hurry up and have a wonderful Christmas. Just remember, it’s the hush that makes it meaningful.