Do We Need Another Hustle Bustle Holiday Season?

Do We Need Another Hustle Bustle Holiday Season? December 30, 2023



The time of year between Christmas and the New Year is an awkward interlude juxtaposing the rush and thrill of the Christmas festivities with the quiet and calm of a New Year’s Day. The Hustle and Bustle quickly moves to a melancholy reflection of the past year. However, does this holiday season necessarily relegate our emotions to such a rollercoaster experience? Can we find quiet, calm, and peace in the Incarnation?

We Need a Little Christmas

Let’s reflect on the past few weeks. The Christmas Story is a lesson in slowing down. The silent urges and prompts from the workplace, home, and even church create existential guilt for those who don’t plan to engage in the parties and get-togethers of the season. This busy bee hustle-bustle mentality certainly cannot be suitable for the soul. It often hides a more profound, disquieting feeling of loss. In the popular Christmas song “We Need a Little Christmas” from the Broadway musical Mame, we learn the urgency behind hauling out the holly and setting up the tree is to keep the spirits raised and protected from “falling again.” As it turns out, the circumstances surrounding “We Need a Little Christmas” is the title character, Mame, losing her fortune in the 1929 Wall Street Crash and is sung to lift the spirits of those around her.

That Old Familiar Song

Dan Fogelberg’s 1981 Christmas classic “Same Old Lang Syne” recalls the snowy Christmas Eve night a past love is reunited in a grocery store. After reflecting on good times, the two run out of things to say. The man’s realization that his old familiar pain of love lost would only be accentuated by the snow turning into rain. In this case, the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season can do nothing to lift the man from his heartache. The old familiar song only serves to remind us of the emptiness of the holiday activities apart from the substantive meaning of the Biblical narrative of Christ’s birth.

The Christmas Season

Christmastide is the liturgical year’s season between December 25th and January 5th – between Advent and Epiphany. As a child, I knew it was the time to play with the toys Santa brought on Christmas morning before school began after New Year’s. As I grew older, it meant the festivities would grind to a halt on December 26th, and the tree would come down a few days later. The slowing down of activities only accentuated a sense of loss and sadness. However, we know this time better as The twelve days of Christmas. The song of the same title recalls a daily reception of an increasing number of gifts from his true love. This season would be a time of receiving.

Giving and Receiving

The wise men presented Christ with gold, frankincense, and myrrh gifts. We often focus too much of our attention leading up to Christmas on giving, but we need more afterward on receiving. The incarnation is a lesson on receiving the Christ Child as God coming to this world to dwell with humanity. The Christmas season is a time to reflect and remember the gift of God’s Son into the world to reconcile us to Himself in peace. Sin, on the other hand, becomes a barrier to that peace. It distracts us with busyness, hindering the work of incarnation in us. It also seeks to replace the true with the empty – the real with the shadow. The activities of the Christmas season, apart from Christ, create a sense of loss because something more significant is expected from the Christmas season than parties, bells, lights, and trees. We are created to have fellowship with God through Christ.

The Privilege of Pause

The wise men presented Christ with gold, frankincense, and myrrh gifts. We often focus too much of our attention leading up to Christmas on giving, but we need more afterward on receiving. The exhausting work of the hustle and bustle during the Christmas season, with the seemingly endless festivities and activities, insults the revelation of the Christ child. It robs us of the fellowship of God in us and leaves us empty, drained, and depressed. What sustains us from December 26th onward as we face the reality of a New Year just days away? It is a reminder that as the multitude of the heavenly host praise God and shout peace to those of goodwill, we too can stop and thank God for his immeasurable gift of Himself. This Christmas Season, Christ invites us to receive Himself and the privilege of pause.

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