By John Pierce

In our fast-paced, high-tech living there are moments when we yearn for simpler times. At least, I do.

My own upbringing was pretty simple. Life revolved around home, church, school and community events (like Boy Scouts and Little League) with a small circle of friends.

Carlock’s grocery didn’t even have an olive bar. But they did offer credit for those needing milk and bread a week ahead of payday.

However, not everything was simpler in the past. Pay phones were a pain compared to cell phones — especially when making long-distance calls and continually feeding an undeterminable amount of coins into the slot.

Tossing a plastic “key” on the hotel counter as I leave sure beats the old ordeal of checking out that often involved long lines, cost disputes over phone calls and lost real keys.

Thoughts of simplification seem to arise this time of the year as we face the holiday season head-on. Will it exhaust us and cost us too much? Will we reach January 2, 2011 refreshed or depleted?

Simpler holidays require going against the commercial flow. Ignoring the hype that consumes the consumers. Only intentional planning can keep meaningful traditions while avoiding frenzy.

The pressure can come from well beyond the crass commercialism of the shopping mall. It often comes from family expectations or a congregation that must do something bigger and grander than neighboring churches.

A commitment to simpler Christmas programming, presents and plans is not easily held. But I’m going to try, once again.

There is a difference in being Scrooge — who rejects the best of the celebration — and finding the joy that can often get lost in the frenetic blur that has become the holiday season.



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