Understanding the rush | Mark’s Remarks

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I think I’ve written more than one column over the years on the rushing of the holiday and the commercialization of Christmas.  

It doesn’t get me anywhere. People agree with me, we fuss about it, but the holiday season still seems to start in October.

I’ve been seeing photos as I quickly scroll through my frenemy social media site, and I snarl and stick up my judgmental nose as I see Christmas decor decking the halls, the bedrooms, and every nook and cranny.

Not a pilgrim in sight.

Look, I like the people who post these pics. I respect them. But I don’t like the idea.

I’ve always said it was because I like to savor the season. When I hear a good song, I don’t want to overplay it over and over until I’m sick of it. Putting Christmas decor up too early makes me sick of the whole thing by the time the real date rolls around.

I was driving down the hill into town the other night and had to stop for a brief moment while a car made a turn. There I was, smack dab in front of a little house. The curtains were open across the entire front, and one could see Christmas decor from corner to corner. The tree was lit up and there was brightness emanating from the whole place.  

You didn’t have to be an old window peeper, stalker in a Buick to notice it.

As I drove away in a humbug, I suddenly heard the more logical and level-headed voice in my head.  This part of me rarely speaks, so it was good to hear from the guy.

It was a sort of epiphany, if you will.

What I came up with is this: people rush the holiday because Christmas means so many things for a lot of folks. 

To some, it is reminiscent of days when they were more carefree. It is a memory of times when everyone made an extra effort to love and appreciate.  The feelings we had at Christmas time and still have; those feelings of peace and joy, togetherness and full hearts, are things we try to recapture. We rush things a little because we want to bring those feelings back, and we want them to stay around as long as we can hold on to them.

At Christmas time, our problems and squabbles seem to hold up a white flag in some respects. People often decide to bury the hatchet or at least recall why they care about one another during the holidays. Sometimes, tolerance turns into mutual admiration.  Things begin again or even become new.

We remember the anticipation, the magic, and the wonder. We remember snowy nights when you heard not a sound when you ventured outside; it was as if the whole world was insulated and soundproof. It didn’t even seem cold.

We recall times when an enormous sense of contentment enveloped us and caused us to feel warm from head to toe.

There are memories of comfort food, or happy people who aren’t normally as happy, or the smell of new plastic toys. We remember the closeness. Our hearts recall how wonderful it is to give to others.  We spend a little more time counting blessings and looking to the coming year with hope.

Many of us stop to ponder the miracle of Christ’s birth, and try as hard as we can with our human brains to understand how much love it takes to send Him into this world, knowing that He would take on the sins of all of us and die with that burden. To save us. Because He loves us with that love that none of us can really fathom. And that baby came back from the dead and lives today. Yes, a miracle.

We are touched by music, by a cherished Christmas card, by a telephone call or visit from someone we haven’t seen for a while.  We smell fresh pine and cedar. Our Bibles open to the story we read every year, followed by “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”   

We think of times when we thought we caught a glimpse of something in the sky, or heard footsteps in the living room, or swore we saw a red furry suit or a fleeting wisp of a white beard. The terrifying excitement of such a moment pumps us with intoxicating adrenaline.

We love more, dream more, hope more, and savor more. Why not? It’s Christmas, after all.

No wonder we rush it a little.

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