Slow Down

I swore I would never do it.


I had always said I would never go out shopping on “Black Friday” but Staples had a good deal on something at which I had been considering.  I thought, “Heh.  Join the rush.  Get in on the excitement. I’ll go, and I’ll go early.  After all, who’s going to be shopping at Staples.


And so I went.  When I arrived, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It was as if everyone in town was there.  The lines were 25 deep and three registers were open. 


I said to myself, “This is crazy.”  And I walked out.  I traveled a little further down McGalliard, and cars went flying by me.  I could see them in the review mirror weaving in and out of traffic. 


One person passed me, proceeded to slow down to make a u-turn and then headed back the other way.  Another person came up behind me, rode my bumper for several blocks before passing.  I saw him pull into a store, jump out of his car and rush into the store.

I decided, “This is nuts.” And so I went to make a call at the hospital, and then went home. 


I don’t know.  Maybe things have changed since I had my “Black Friday” experience.  It was 8 years ago.


I do know that Christmas sometimes becomes a little hectic.  And yet it is a great time of the year and I want to encourage you to take advantage of all the opportunities Christmas affords us.  Christmas truly is a time of joy.


To experience the real joy of Christmas there are several truths I would present for your consideration, however.


When I consider, for instance, the Magi, I think first we need to …


SLOW down. I know it can be argued that the Wise Men were astrologers and that was why they were looking at the stars, but I’ve always wondered if the Wise Men weren’t wise simply because they took the time to observe – to look up at the stars.


It ran in a Tacoma, Washington, newspaper some years ago.  Perhaps it reflects the way many of us feel about the pace of our lives these days — particularly as we enter the busy Christmas season.


The article reads:

Tattoo, the basset hound, never intended to go for an evening run — but he had no choice when his owners shut his leash in the car door and took off for a drive with Tattoo still outside the vehicle. Motorcycle officer Terrence Filbert was patrolling about 7:25 p.m. Wednesday evening when he noticed a vehicle that appeared to have something dragging from it. As Filbert passed the vehicle, he noticed that the dragging item was a basset hound on a leash — picking them up and putting them down as fast as he could.


Filbert gave chase and finally stopped the car on North 21st street but not before the dog had reached a speed of 20-25 MPH. The car’s occupants, a man and a woman, jumped out when Filbert told them that they were dragging a dog. The couple became distressed and began calling out: “Tattoo, Tattoo!” Tattoo, 8 months old, was not injured, but Filbert suggested that they take the dog to a nearby animal clinic to be checked out. No citation was issued.  Poor Tattoo.


Can anybody relate to Tattoo?  Sometimes the pace of our lives is crazy.


Our entire lives could be described as running just as fast as we can. And like Tattoo the basset hound, many of us feel as if we have no choice in the matter! It’s just the way it is.


Here the good news.  You can slow down. Many of the deadlines and “have-to-do’s” you feel pressing in on you are self-imposed.


Slow down and simplify.


Secondly, LAY down. By that I mean lay down anything that distracts you from God this season.


I love the story about Yogi Berra and Hank Aaron. Berra was a catcher with the Yankees and Aaron was playing for the then Milwaukee Braves. During one game Yogi, as usual, was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to distract the Milwaukee batters.


As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, “Hey Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.”


Aaron didn’t say a word, but when the next pitch came he drilled it over the left field fence and into the upper reaches of the stadium. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come up here to read.”


May I suggest that we lay down everything that distracts us from reaching Jesus.


Finally, BOW down and worship the king – Jesus Christ.


The Magi knew the only proper response in the presence of the King of Glory was to humbly and reverently bow down before him and worship Him with the gift of our lives.


May this Christmas season be a time of joy. 


  1. Invite someone to worship with you this Christmas

       Choir sings at Selma Christ / New Burlington on December 24.

       A Christmas Eve service will be at New Burlington with candlelighting

       and communion.


Merry Christmas   Dennis