Trees and clouds are running at Christmas

The story is told of a 24-year old boy looking out of the train’s window shouting… “Dad, look the trees are going behind!”

Dad smiled and a young couple sitting nearby, looked at the 24-year old’s childish behavior with pity, suddenly he again exclaimed… “Dad, look the clouds are running with us!”

The couple couldn’t resist and said to the old man… “Why don’t you take your son to a good doctor?” The old man smiled and said… “I did, and we are just coming from the hospital. My son was blind from birth; he just got his eyes today.”

Do you ever want to go back to the time when you were driving to grand-father’s house at Christmas time, looking out the car window to see the “trees go behind” and the “clouds run with you”? You know you can.

Christmas time is a time of mind over matter; and if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Mark Twain said: “Age is a matter of mind over matter, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” And isn’t this the case with how we view and prepare for Christmas? 

We can take the November Christmas carols for example. I tuned my car radio to a 24-hour Christmas carol station. For the first few days it made me a more cheerful person, often humming a carol as I went into a store or picked up the mail.

For a while I even watched Christmas ads in November. When I had my fill, my language stayed clean, but I changed to another station or used the fast-forward button. The point is, we have a choice.

Patience in the long line-ups of traffic or shoppers is another matter. An abbot once told me, “There are two ways you can wait in the line, patiently or impatiently. It takes the same amount of time.” If you don’t mind, then these situations really don’t matter.

“Imagine you had a bank account that deposited $86,400 each morning. The account carries over no balance from day to day, allows you to keep no cash balance, and every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every dollar each day!

“We all have such a bank. Its name is Time. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever time you have failed to use wisely. …you can’t borrow against yourself or use more time than you have.” (Internet – Motivational Stories)

So how do you use your time to prepare for Christmas? You have a choice. You can go back to the Christmas carols, the Christmas Spirit of giving and sharing. You can make family a priority. You can plan the Midnight Mass or worship service where the true meaning is celebrated.

You have the time! 86,400 seconds per day! The Lord even gave us a seventh day where we are encouraged to use time free from work for family and church. Is Christ in our Christmas? We can say, “Merry Christmas!” and sing the songs that tell the Christmas story.

Let’s see, there’s “Silent Night”, “O Holy Night”, “The First Noel”, “Joy to the World”, and even “White Christmas”. And we can conclude with, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”!

(560 words)

By Ken Rolheiser