Merry Very Slow Christmas

Did they have a fire?
Mary and Joseph – did they have a little camp fire to keep them warm?
I think so, it seems fitting.
Doesn’t a camp fire make you relax? It does me. It seems to burn away the worries, the stress, the … well the rush. For me it’s a symbol of contentment, peace.
When meditating on the Christmas story I rarely picture a great deal of stress and rush, even when considering the circumstances; had her waters broken? Just how many places had they visited before the ‘cave’ out the back was offered? How sore was she from the donkey ride? How many others were doing the circuit looking for a room? Was there a que?
Yet, I still sense serenity, a peace in this story.
Was it life style? Was life in those days just slower than ours?
Light a fire, have a baby …God, welcome visitors, sleep some, entertain angels, be amazed at your new child…serenity, peace – do you feel it?

Serenity and peace are not words that I would use to characterise the life style of most of the people in our culture, especially at this time of the year, people have been gearing themselves up for what has been unfortunately labelled ‘the silly season’, for months.
Clive Hamilton in what is one of the best books of 2005 (Affluenza) wrote that

Many Australians still see themselves as living in the land of the long weekend. But for most Australian workers having a sickie, knocking off for a smoko and taking long lunches are things of the past. During the last twenty years there has been a gradual but relentless increase in working time in most organisations – so much so that Australians now work the longest hours in the developed world.

So as I sat around my camp fire out in the bush with my family recently, I wondered just how I was going to handle the so called ‘silly season’. I wondered how I was going to fulfill my promise to myself to slow down…and be more effective (whatever that means!) in 2006. I wondered if there was something Christ-like in going slow, or am I just a slacker with a poor work ethic?
I want to skip the freeway and go the coast road, leave an hour earlier.
I want to do Church in the bush, take lunch, take the day.
I want to ask the boss for a 4 day week instead of a pay rise.
I want to see the sun rise because the first light is the best light!
I want to spend 2 hours over dinner with my family and friends
I want to slowly grow my own veggies…and laugh at the shapes!
I want to slowly wander my neighborhood, connect…really connect with people.
I want to want less and live more.

Did they have a camp fire when Jesus was wandering with his 12 friends? I think so. I think next year will not be ‘purpose driven’ for me, rather…’purpose walkin’’!

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