Slow Down


I say this mainly to myself as I am usually running around trying to accomplish things. The Christmas season always seems to be the busiest with trying to finish up year-end work, Christmas pageants, shopping, holiday movies, and oh yeah, family and friends.

While I was at my parents’ house over Thanksgiving, I was encouraged by my mother to take some of my old books home with me. So, as the always obedient son, I went to their library and began browsing. I found the first book I ever read for school that I actually liked (there have been plenty more sense as I was an English minor in college). It was 9th grade I think. It is Fahrenheit 451 (the temperature at which book paper catches fire, and burns), by Ray Bradbury and written in 1953.  

The date, 1953 is key. The book paints a picture of an even busier future than what they are experiencing in the at the time it was written. Bradbury’s future revolves around society’s needs for constant entertainment. He describes wall-size televisions and Mrs. Montag’s desire to add one more wall TV to be surrounded on all four sides. Another imaginative product for 1953 is a little ear piece that provides constant music. (Yes, I do have a flat-screen TV and an iPod.)

This constant entertainment is to keep people from thinking, visiting and truly knowing people. It’s encouraged because thought leads to unhappiness. To further keep people from thinking, all books are banned. If a book is found in a house, the firemen come and burn the house down.

Guy Montag, the central character, is a fireman for most of the book. He then begins to think and question his career and realizes he misses discussions and knowing people. He comes across a few books, one of which is the Bible and reads Ecclesiastes. Once he and his books are found out, his fellow firemen come to burn his house and he is asked to strike the match. (I’m omitting so as not to ruin the story.) While he is on the run, he comes across fellow former book owners and lovers. They are all named by the book they read and liked the most. They have discussions, begin to know each other better and Guy becomes known as Ecclesiastes – as he is the one, if no other Bibles are found, that will have the knowledge of the book.

So, first, let’s slow down this season and focus on what matters. Also, take in the knowledge so that people can call us by the Bible we read.

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