Be wary of Christmas adventures in missing the point

SLOW DOWN: Rushing things that don't need to be rushed often leads to damaged relationships. Picture: Shutterstock
SLOW DOWN: Rushing things that don't need to be rushed often leads to damaged relationships. Picture: Shutterstock

A man is driving around the city frantically looking for a parking spot as he is due for an important job interview in only a few minutes. In his desperation, he prayed.

"Oh God! This job interview is so important to me, you have no idea!

"So, if you can find me a parking spot, so I can get to this job interview on time, I'll change my life, I'll be nice to my wife ... I'll even start praying again!"

In that very instant, he sees a car leaving a spot right in front of the very building of the job interview. As he pulls into the space, he quickly exclaims: "Never mind God. I've found one myself!"

For Christians all around the world, Advent began on the weekend - a time of waiting for the coming of Christmas.

Even those who do not claim to be spiritual or religious will say they often feel different at Christmas.

Many a Christmas tale is exactly this story. Christmas looks like it's going to be a disaster, but everyone pitches in - even, and especially Scrooge - and the joys of philanthropy are once again made manifest.

But for me, people's boundless potential for philanthropy is somewhat soured by the commercial opportunists.

Nobody I know starts celebrating Christmas earlier than the retailers, who never fail to surprise with just how early they start putting up the tinsel.

And yet, there's a real paradox here. Their sales and specials but only for a limited time, create within us an illusion that the lead-up to Christmas is a rush.

And this self-fulfilling prophetic rush is the complete opposite to what Advent should be: a relaxed and reflective time of waiting.

To rush something is almost always dangerous.

The medical world knew from the start the dangers of rushing a COVID-19 vaccine; the dangers of speeding on the road are well-documented and known to all; and hopefully you've worked out by now that the reason late-night TV wants you to buy that exercise machine you'll never use - and is even willing to give you a second machine if you ring it in the next 10 minutes - is because these commercial opportunists know the purchase is a bad decision and almost all bad decisions are rushed into.

Perhaps, just maybe, rushing things that don't need to be rushed can damage the most important thing in the world: relationships.

The strength or weakness of a relationship is the reason behind every marriage, divorce, contract, covenant and war.

Perhaps it is some people's tendency to rush others that is damaging their otherwise sterling character.

Muse on those individuals who like to rush things so as to get many things done.

They are good administrators of jobs, but not of people.

They fail to notice they offend people they work with or are married to with their lack of sensitivity towards those who take a little while longer to get things done.

A choleric person "gets the job done", but lacks tact and this tactlessness can be seen as insensitivity by others.

On the other hand, those among us a little more melancholic get caught up in the concept of taking longer to process what has to get done and so struggle with time management.

Their weakness is often procrastination, but this can be exasperated by their fear of being told their job is not being done quick enough by others more time efficient.

Sometimes, the fastest way to offend someone is to rush your conversation with them.

Perhaps you're doing this and you haven't noticed.

Perhaps you haven't noticed because you've been in too much of a rush.

It is profoundly significant that when a doctor can find nothing wrong with a patient, the doctor tells that patient to slow down and get some rest.

Perhaps if we take the lead-up to Christmas a little slower this year -and spend a little longer with the people we love in our lives - then we won't thoughtlessly say and do the things that all the time in the world cannot fix.

Twitter: @frbrendanelee

This story Be wary of Christmas adventures in missing the point first appeared on The Canberra Times.