But that’s not the real culprit. Much more, it’s the way all the noises that we choose to listen to have infiltrated our minds. We’re caffeinated, buzzed, wired, plugged-in. In one recent survey, only 19 percent of Americans said they wanted a "more exciting, faster-paced life." Excitement can’t excite us anymore.
What can excite us – what can make us salivate the way a circus could make some Kansas farm boy salivate – is the prospect of a lull, an interlude. Stillness scares us (that’s why the TV goes on when we walk in the hotel room) but it attracts us, too. If there’s one thing we’d really like from Christmas, I think, it’s a little of that "season of peace" that the greeting card writers are always promising. It’s one of the reasons "Silent Night" is the all-time favorite carol. There’s a moment when we sing it each year at the end of the Christmas Eve service, with the lights out and everyone holding a candle that frames their face with soft light, and that marks for me the absolute height of Christmas.
If there’s one way in which the world has changed more than any other since 1840, one thing that’s truly different about our lives, it’s that we’ve become such devout consumers. That consumption carries with it certain blessings (our lives are long and easy by any historical standard) and certain costs (first and foremost the damage it causes to the rest of creation). But the greatest cost may be the way it’s changed us, the way it has managed to confuse us about what we really want from the world. We weren’t built just for this life we find ourselves leading – we were built for silence and solitude, built for connection with each other and the natural world, built for so much more than we now settle for. Christmas is the moment to sense that, the moment to reach for the real joys.
I am challenging myself and others to create A Hundred Dollar Holiday this year...read the following post for details...