"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" both aired on CBS last week.
These two animated "specials" first appeared in the 1960s, and they are clearly stamped with the language and sensibilities of that moment in American history. Still they endure. They are required viewing for millions of people during the Christmas season.
I admit it. This year, I was the one yelling, "Hey, everyone! Come to the living room. Rudolph's on!"
Surely one of the reasons these two programs remain popular is that they both acknowledge the churn that engulfs us every December. In Rudolph, the head elf anxiously berates a junior elf, worrying that the toys will not get built in time. In Frosty, villainous Professor Hinkle runs off, saying, "I have got to get busy, busy, busy!"
'Tis the season!
Or is it?
Lately, I find myself praying things like:
Gracious God... Help! I am running as fast as I can here. My calendar is bursting. I am having trouble keeping all of the balls - or knives, or whatever it is that I am supposed to be juggling - in the air. Please give me stamina. Please help me not to grouch at the other elves. And, most of all, please help me to see beyond "the churn" to the holy heart of this precious time. Amen.
My friend Amos Disasa likes to talk about Slow Church. Slow Church is a riff on the Slow Food movement. Slow Food aims to be everything that fast food is not. It is seasonal. It is local. It is a celebration of the farm around the corner and what the farmer is currently bringing in from the fields. Slow Food is not gobbling a bite on the run. It is taking time to sit at table with friends. It is curried pumpkin soup; and it is conversation about stuff that matters.
I agree with Amos.