Is it just me, or does Christmas come sooner every year?
Hobby Lobby and Michaels had the Christmas “stuff” out just after the fourth of July. So I understand that if you are making gifts for the holidays, you need to start early.
However, Kmart, Walmart, Penney’s, and others were knee deep in Christmas including carols on the PA system before Halloween had faded. What happened to Thanksgiving? It may get a shelf or two of tableware, napkins, plates, and a turkey centerpiece. Guess we don’t need much merchandising to eat turkey with the relatives.
It seems the merchants have been pushing Christmas since August. Now that Thanksgiving is out of the way, the push toward the actual holiday has begun. Stores were open on Thanksgiving day and evening. Since Thanksgiving came late in November, the retailers are frantic to make all their Christmas profits in three weeks instead of four. (Another way Thanksgiving just got in the way of spending that Christmas money.)
Of course then the After-Christmas sales begin. I won’t be surprised to see stores open on Christmas Day to get whatever money people failed to spend on the before Christmas sales, the Black Friday sales, the lowest prices of the season sales; on and on it goes.
The holiday shopping season is six months long. No wonder it feels like Christmas comes sooner every year.
Maybe the post-holiday letdown comes sooner too. I find the need to decorate one tree (let alone the seven or eight some decorate in their homes) makes me feel tired. Getting the boxes from the attic, stringing the lights, cleaning the windows of dog nose prints in order to put candles up in the windows, moving furniture to incorporate the tree and room for six adults on Christmas morning, baking the cookies and country ham, and writing the Christmas cards. The tasks seem overwhelming before I even begin.
However, all that’s important will somehow get accomplished. Presents will be purchased as fairly as possible (Does Dan need another gift to balance how much we spent on Brad?). Wrapping will occur. Travel plans will result in family time all together. And we will relish it all, whether the traditional cookies are ever made or not.
Just when the commercialization of Christmas has taken its toll on one and all. Christmas Eve finally arrives. With a collective sigh, my family attends a communion service including meditation on the birth of Christ, the carols from the hymnal, and a time of quiet prayer.
Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Lights, please.
Linus Van Pelt: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"
Linus Van Pelt: That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059026/quotes)
Yes, this is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. The holiness of the night of Christmas Eve settles around us. If only it lasted all year.
Dr. Seuss got it right in The Grinch:
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
In the end of it, Dickens’s Scrooge has the final word:
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
Perhaps it’s not that Christmas comes earlier every year, but that Christmas is put in storage for six months after the sales of Christmas baubles and gifts have ended. Perhaps the question for us is how to keep Christmas in our hearts all the year long.
Love of God, our fellow man, of family and friends knows no season.
and stay with us
the whole year long.