This week brings us the shortest days of the year.
The message about long days (the “long lazy days of summer!”) is that you have plenty of time, so relax, read a book in a hammock, etc. But, somehow, we get the message that short days mean we must hurry – rush to get it all done, to get it all in, to see everyone and feel all the holiday magic. In our culture, we hold that in as a lot of pressure, stress.
The message in the Christmas scriptures holds a lot of hurrying as well: Mary “went with haste” to visit her cousin Elizabeth; and “suddenly” there was with the angel a multitude; the shepherds “went with haste” to find Mary and Joseph and the baby. Our religion doesn't slow us down here. Everyone's hurrying, but with excitement, not dread. It's all haste, until they see the baby. Then all slows down, as if they are holding their breath in awe.
A baby! Who would have thought! A helpless, shelterless infant bringing hope.
And slowing us down. Stop. And come see the hope of the world.