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The Christmas Rush

December 20, 2010

We are in the midst of the Christmas rush. Most of us have filled our calendars with activities observing the holiday season.  Schedules and deadlines make us feel pushed and harried.

Family gatherings and social occasions, heaped on top of our regular responsibilities, leave us tired and exhausted. Charitable organization and faith group activities, though well-intentioned, add to the demands upon our time.

There are so many good things to do during the holidays. Every town has its own Christmas parade and displays of Christmas lights.  Musical presentations abound, from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker to Handel’s Messiah to school programs to choir cantatas. No matter how we may try, we cannot do everything.

As one weary soul said in late November, “Trying to find a free evening during the holidays is like trying to find a homegrown tomato in my vegetable garden in December.”

For many, overspending becomes the norm.  Credit card debt spins out of control as buying frenzies take over, leaving many to struggle with an avalanche of bills come January.

“I hate Christmas,” one beleaguered father said. “Every year my family spends so much that I am barely able to pay off the debt before the next Christmas. Then we do it all over again.”

Rather than allowing the expenditure of time and money at this season to rush out of control like a runaway locomotive, we need to find a better way.

The holidays for Jill were always hectic.  There were more things to do than she could squeeze into her calendar. One year she decided to send her Christmas cards early.  Jill was the kind of person who kept meticulous records from year to year of cards sent and cards received.  She resolved that this was the year to purge her list.  She would strike from her list any person who had failed to send her a card in the past two years.  She purchased the required number of cards and enough holiday stamps to mail them.  She added a brief greeting and her signature to each card before mailing them ahead of the postal deadline.

As Christmas approached, Jill received cards in her mail delivery nearly every day.  Much to her chagrin, several of the people she had banished from her extensive list, sent her cards.  One busy Friday, while out shopping for Christmas gifts, she picked up a box of twenty-five generic holiday cards at a stationery shop.  By Christmas Eve, she had mailed all but three of the additional cards to people previously expunged from her list.

A few days after Christmas, as Jill was paying her bills, she reached for one of the leftover generic cards, belatedly remembering that she had not even taken time to read the inside verse before she sent them.

She opened the card and read in dismay:  “This little card is just to say, your Christmas gift is on the way.”  Oops!

Rushing through Christmas can be costly.  Not only can we become overextended in time, energy, and money; but we may also become depleted emotionally and spiritually.

Silence, stillness, and peacefulness are important to our observance of this season. Finding the quiet center is the best way to enjoy the season and to preserve our sanity.

Kirk H. Neely
© December 2010


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