Too slow for those who Wait
Too swift for those who Fear
Too long for those who Grieve
Too short for those who Rejoice
– Henry Van Dyke
This past Christmas season came upon me this year in a flash. It was also one that has changed a lot over the past year. There are no more young children in our family. My two nephews have become adults with one living in California. This Christmas had the potential for being a depressing one. The old traditions of sitting around the tree Christmas morning at first light, snoozing while breakfast was being cooked and stuffing ourselves silly all day long are no more.
Even though this change has been difficult for some of us, for me it hasn’t been that bad – family wise. Being a loner has its advantages. But I do feel for the rest of my family as they relied so much on the gathering of everyone to determine the success or failure of Christmas.
When it comes to holidays or birthdays or anniversaries of whatever sort perhaps our tendency to look too much to other people to have a happy and joyful time comes into plain view. Some say Christmas is all about children. Or birthday parties are for children only. Or why celebrate a wedding anniversary when a spouse has died? If we continue to look outward to find our happiness then we will never be happy, at peace or full of joy.
Each person has to go within themselves to find their own reason for being at peace on Christmas or whatever the occasion. Forget the outside influences of SPEND! SPEND! SPEND!. Ours is an emotion-driven economy. Want happiness? Spend money. Want to be at peace? Spend money. Lonely for a mate? Spend money (on matchmaking services, of course). Feeling bad about yourself? Spend money on clothes or food.
But none of these tactics work. Nor will they ever work. Without true happiness, true joy, true peace deep down inside, all the outer trappings are just facades or a bandage over a very deep and seeping wound.
The next holiday or birthday or special occasion that comes around and you find yourself stressing about what to buy, what to cook, who to invite, etc., stop – take a deep breath – and look within. Is what you are doing working for you? Maybe God is trying to reach you through all the temporal junk going on around you. Maybe you aren’t listening. Maybe you don’t want to listen.
Look within to find true peace. Look within to find God waiting for you to gift you with that Peace. My mantra for a long time has been, “Stop. Breathe. Don’t give into the madness.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I am not required to be successful. I am, however, required to try.