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December 14, 2013
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Tresta Payne: How to slow down Christmas | Moms

I've been drowning a bit lately.

We've had way too many meals that involved ground beef, and Taco Tuesday has been replaced by Taco Today and tomorrow – and then maybe spaghetti. (Here's a free tip for all the husbands: tacos are a sure sign of a weary wife.)

But we've had dinner every night without fail and for that I'm thankful. We also wake up every morning and the world has spun its course and the sun eventually peeks through the fog. Or, there’s snow – and for a little while we can be happy about that.

It's just crazy busy with all the unexpected thrown in for good measure, and we're a little tired. You are, too, aren't you?

The kids are talking about Christmas and they catch an eye-roll from me now and then. My attitude stinks a little. I use the eye-roll in place of the "Christmas-will-be-slim" line because I want to refrain from Scrooge-like complaints that come from only seeing what we lack.

I want to stop the eye-roll, too.

I remember saying something last summer about, "When summer's over and things slow down..."

And then this fall, with school and sports and birthdays, I said something similar. Now it's December and it seems like there are too many things to buy and make and do.

Maybe in the new year?

Reality has set in: life doesn't voluntarily slow down. I'm ready for some simplification in the schedule and the clutter and in all things celebratory, but it will mean making intentional choices.

Christmas ought to slow us down, not speed us up.

The whole world should shift because a baby born in struggle came to take our struggle, came to fight our struggle, came to live it and overcome it and free us from it. Sometimes it's not the way we think the fight should go, though.

The Jews wanted a King to reign over them and to oust Rome, their oppressors. Jesus, instead, showed them the oppressions of their own doing, the dirty works of their hands that oozed from their hearts.

They wanted earthly freedom and a king who would perform the way they hoped.

I am no different. I am Jewish by heavenly adoption and human by birth and my heart overflows with the yuck that I need freedom from, with the oppression of others for the benefit of me, with consumerism and gadget worship and wanting-to-do-all-the-things.

I want stuff to make me happy and I want time to slow for my own benefit.

Imagine how time stopped for the baby born in Bethlehem. How the weary world rejoiced and then the King born in a stable died for His people on a tree.

Scratch your head in wonder because nothing more beautiful and heroic and time stopping ever happened.

Let’s slow this shopping cart down. We say it every year, but really, this time, let's not even grab a cart. Let's grab hold of that baby in a manger that sparked this whole celebration and just take in the wonder again.

This season is for wonder, and there’s more to do here locally than just shop.

Try the Festival of Lights at River Forks Park. You can take the family car through and just enjoy the wonder of 40,000 lights strung up for your enjoyment and without any of the Griswold-annoyance.

Or try the Wildlights at Wildlife Safari. Walk through Safari Village with your hot chocolate or coffee and watch the animals put on a show.

Tonight, December 14, you can enjoy the Timber Trucker’s Light Parade in Myrtle Creek for free. Dress warm and watch the handiwork drive by and then take in the live nativity scene at the Winter Festival.

Most importantly, find a local church that is celebrating the birth of your Savior. Find somewhere to refocus your family and to scratch your head in wonder at the birth of a baby who came to this hectic world and who can truly give you peace, even on this crazy earth.

Christmas ought to slow us down, not speed us up.

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The News-Review Updated Dec 20, 2013 09:10AM Published Dec 24, 2013 08:04AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.