Snarled in stop-and-go holiday shopping traffic the other day, I complained aloud the oft-repeated refrain, “This traffic is moving along like Christmas!” Such statements, of course, refer to the perceived (especially by youngsters) slowness of recurring Christmases. But in the moments immediately following my exclamation, I had a fleeting thought and I exclaimed, “Oh, wait! That’s not true. Christmases seem to be coming more often and faster for some reason.”
Could it be that I’m just getting older?
My maternal grandmother used to tell me that the older I got, the faster time would go. I didn’t believe her. How could that be true when it took forever for Christmas to get here? And then, when Christmas Eve finally arrived and we kids were waiting impatiently for my paternal grandparents to come over to our house for our traditional Christmas Eve supper and gift exchange, time seemed to stand still. (You can read a more detailed account of the trials and tribulations that we faced
during that night of waiting and waiting and waiting in my article “Christmas Eve Reunion” in the November-December issue of Good Old Days, so I won’t rehash them here.)
All that has changed now. Instead, it seems that Christmases roll around like weekends. Not only are my days all mixed up, but also my years are running together. Wasn’t that last year? No, it was the year before, the year when all of our family rented a cabin in the Smokies for Christmas. I now date everything by which grandchildren were present at the time. This year we’ll have six grandchildren. “Oh the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!” But it’ll be a joyous noise, a noise by which we will measure the passage of time. And when next Christmas rolls around, there will be seven noisemakers to bring us Christmas cheer!
Yes, the kids might think that Christmas creeps toward them, but we grandparents see it flying toward us. Suddenly, it’s upon us, and the joyous occasion occurs, and then it’s gone just as suddenly as it came. Only memories are left in its wake. We turn around, and there we see the next Christmas off in the distance and coming fast toward us. And each time, there are more grandkids, and they have grown. Where has the time gone?!
There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s a fact of life. So I should just enjoy the fleeting moment while it’s here and welcome the memories it brings. And pray that in all of the excitement and hoopla and gift exchanging and feasting that those grandkids come to realize the true meaning of it all–the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child, our Savior from our sins, the only hope for the world, the Prince of Peace–and accept Him as their own.
Copyright (c) 2017, Dennis L. Peterson