hum of the holidays

Is it just me, or does the week leading up to Christmas have a buzz in the air? Literally. You could almost say that Christmas is actually audible. Call it the “hum of the holidays.”

At Christmas, there is just more of everything.

Traffic.
People.
Food. LOTS of food.
Conversation.
Music.
Drink. LOTS...oh wait...No :-).
Honking.
Advertisements. LOTS of advertisements.
Gatherings.

My initial reaction is to say this is the sound of busyness. Each individual aspect of Christmas coalescing into a holiday carol that transcends them all - this “hum of the holidays” chorus. And depending on your personal disposition, this all-encompassing noise can be either exhilarating, exhausting, annoying, or simply go unnoticed. For me, it depends on my mood. In general, though, I think our world could do with a little less busyness. So when such busyness is amped up like at Christmas (who controls the volume dial?), part of me cringes and wonders if this is the way it has to be. I hope not.

But before my inner-Scrooge takes over, I need to remember that not all the verses of this cultural carol have to sing of the dark side to busyness. The song isn’t called “The Negativity.”

Perhaps one verse sings of connection - relationships strengthened in a time that for some reason, people are that much more ready to commit to a few extra hours together. We are relational beings after all. Being together can be a bright side to busyness.

And maybe another verse sings of generosity. Despite the consumeristic selfishness lurking behind the tradition of Christmas gift-giving, the premise itself remains a good one. As we celebrate the ultimate gift - Immanuel, God with us - our gift-giving reflects our nature - a nature made in the image of a self-giving God.

Lastly, as a parent, I can’t help but think another verse has to be for the kids. And not just in a fun "Frosty the Snow Man" or "Jingle Bells" sort-of way. There is something about the wonder and mystery of Christmas from a child’s perspective that shines through the busyness (be it the Santa-version or the Jesus-version). Trust combines with awe combines with expectation that - although at times infused with sugary-induced, present-crazed zaniness - should inspire wonder and hope in the most cynical of holiday observers. Jesus was onto something.

Connection.
Generosity.
Wonder.

As we continue to participate in this cultural carol - “hum of the holidays” - may we remember to sing these important verses loudly, harmonized for all to hear.

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