"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Third Weekend in Advent - December 17 & 18

I took my family to lunch at Longhorn’s today which required traveling through the McDonough Square and out Jonesboro Road…..right into the heart of retail horror. I enjoyed watching the children waiting to sit on Santa’s lap up as he sat in his sleigh up on the Square. That’s always a highlight of the Saturdays of December; all the fun stuff on the Square. But, then, once we crossed the train tracks the holiday cheer came to a grinding halt…along with the traffic….along with any form of courtesy in driving….along with any calmness I had up to that point. And it only got worse as we approached the I-75 bridge and sat and sat and sat. I wanted to scream out the window that I did not wasn’t going to Target, or Belk, or Best Buy, or Sam’s, or any of the other zillion stores….I just wanted to stay in the right lane and get to Longhorn’s.

Finally, the sea of cars parted and I managed to pull in the parking lot and pile out of the car. As we walked to our table, I noticed how many people were looking at the smartphones, surfing, texting, facebooking, and making calls. The thing that disturbed me is that these were not lone diners, but were parties or two or more. What about sitting down and eating your meal makes you want to play with your phone and ignore those you are eating with? After we finished eating and headed to PetSmart, the craziness of drivers seemed to multiply. Ignoring lane markings, lane directions, stop signs, trying to beat you to any parking place you headed for, one even jumped into the handicapped parking place after cutting me off…..and, of course, as this very young driver hopped out of their car, there was no apparent physical disability. “Only stupidity,” I thought. I wanted the spot so that my mom who has legitimate walking problems wouldn’t have to walk so far to the pet store.

After fighting the fight to get home, I wanted to throw myself on the sofa and cover up my head with both anxiety and anger issues. I wonder every year if the time will come when we can slow it down and enjoy Christmas as what it was meant to be. Quietness, stillness, calmness, taking time with family and friends for some quality time, cutting back on the money and amounts of gifts. Personally, I like to give things from the WMU Worldcrafts online store where women and children in impoverished countries make simple gift items to sell in this store to earn a little money to provide for their families. I like buying the notecards with rice kernel designs from some Chinese and Thai ladies. Also, the carved wood items from Jordan, Central America and Africa make nice gifts at a very small price. I can shop online, spend money that is going to a cause to help people in need, and have unique gifts each year. Interesting homemade gifts can also be bought at the Fairview Senior Center and the funds help out Senior Services.

When I get caught up in the horrors of traffic and shopping and long days and nights, Jesus is the last thing on my mind. Usually, homicide is in the forefront of my thinking. That’s why the past couple of years, I have made conscious efforts to not get caught up into doing every single thing I am asked to do. No longer do I have to spend every evening of December at the church. Sure, I’d like to go to that particular party, I’m sorry I just can’t this year. You don’t owe explanations, just “I’m sorry, I just can’t make it.” Even though it would be fun….save yourself. Turn off the television and listen to music as you sip your hot chocolate in front of the fire. Read a story to your kids or other family.

You are the most important gift you can give to Jesus during this season and I encourage you to give Him a calm, peaceful spirit where you are truly celebrating His birth. He can’t use any of us if we are frantic and stressed; He is our Peace.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!


At 10:55 AM, Blogger CWMartin said...

Unfortunately, you captured the current feel of the season perfectly. Too many people concentrated in one spot- makes you understand how easy the destruction of the Tower of Babel was for God. Glad to see you have the wisdom to step back-I've known pastors that didn't. Enjoy your day.

At 8:35 PM, Blogger scatterbrained said...

As my pastor put it, Christmas is not about putting the local retailers in the black for the year!

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Jimmy said...

Thank you, CW and scatterbrained. I really appreciate your thoughts and comments. It means a lot that you follow my ramblings.

At 10:14 PM, Blogger jennifer anderson said...

Exactly. "Just say no"!


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