If memory serves, I was eighteen, my sister was sixteen, my brother was fourteen, and my mother was thirty-eight. We were in Indianapolis for a weekend getaway while my father was working somewhere. So, we four headed to Indy for some fun. It was a great weekend and filled with all the highs and lows that being with your siblings often exposes.
For example, my brother couldn’t swim, and I…unwisely…tried to help him get his head out of the water by swimming below him, grabbing his feet, and pushing him upward. Now, in my mind he was going to automatically stiffen his legs and would then get the air he needed, but in his mind I was trying to drown him. In fact, to this day, he still believes I was out to kill him, and I’ve given up trying to convince him otherwise. The upshot – he learned to swim.
It was also on this trip that my mother let me drive around I-465 as we traveled to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus being held in old Market Square Arena. We were in my dad’s 1986 white Ford F-150 and I guess I thought that since I was in Indianapolis traveling a circular course (I-465) that this meant I could also drive like I was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. So, I did.
To this day, I smile and sometimes even laugh out loud when I remember hearing my mother yell out, “Slow this buggy down!” It was funny then, and it’s funny now, but there’s a lesson to be had here.
It’s during the Christmas season when people become so busy that they forget to slow down and think about what it’s really all about, and we all just need to slow our collective buggies down and ponder, remember, reminisce, and give thanks for the Wonderful child who is the good news of this season.
Martin Luther referred to this kind of deliberate reflecting centuries ago when he wrote about the Christmas Gospel:
The Christmas Gospel is so clear that there is little need of learned interpretation. It is only necessary to ponder it well, to contemplate it, and to take it completely into your heart. None will derive more benefit from it than they whose hearts hold still and who divest themselves of material considerations and concentrate diligently on it. This lesson is just like [the reflection of] the sun: in a quiet and still pond it can be seen clearly and warms the water powerfully, but in a rushing current it cannot be seen as well nor can it warm up the water as much. So if you wish to be illumined and warmed here, to see God's mercy and wondrous deeds, so that your heart is filled with fire and light and becomes reverent and joyous, then go to where you may be still and impress the picture deep into your heart. You will find no end of wondrous deeds.
It’s during this time of year when Christmas Carols and holiday songs are sung and played all over the place. In fact, we sometimes get tired of hearing them. There’s a beautiful song sung by Tony Bennett and played by the late Bill Evans that I like to listen around Christmas time. It would not really be identified as a Christmas carol or a holiday song, but the words, when thought of in the context of the Christmas season really drive home the beauty of the Christmas Gospel.
So, with all we’re doing and all we’re trying to accomplish with just ten more shopping days left until Christmas take time to go somewhere quiet to think about Jesus Christ and what His birth really means to you, or to quote my mother, “Slow This Buggy Down!”