I don’t like November 1. Why? Because it reminds me of the consumer spin that we have put on Christmas. You know what I am talking about. The day after that “trick or treating” holiday, while the kids are still nursing tummy aches from eating too much candy, all the stores begin to tear down the pumpkins, costumes and candy from their seasonal shelves and begin to put up their Christmas decorations.
I don’t like this day, but it isn’t because I miss the pumpkins and other treats that that have been up on the shelves for the past month. The reason I don’t like this day is because once the Christmas decorations go up, we begin a fast paced slide toward Christmas that is anything but the peaceful journey it is meant to be.
Between November 1 and the end of the year we have two holidays that are meant to turn our eyes toward our Heavenly Father with thanks and praise. But instead of peacefully and joyfully celebrating this time of year, we have filled it with a flurry of gift-buying, party-going, card-sending, house-decorating, consumer-driven madness, that leaves Thanksgiving and the real meaning of Christmas wallowing in the carnage.
In just a little while we will be standing in the early stages of 2011 and looking back with dazed confusion at the blur that was supposed to be the holiday season. It happens every year. It seems like we go to bed on October 31 and wake up on January 2 and an entire two months have passed and we hardly had time to enjoy any of it.
I guess that is why I don’t like November 1. The stores all rush ahead to try and be the first to get out their Christmas stuff and begin this feeding frenzy that we call the holiday season. They push it by so fast that all we can do is reach out, grab hold and hang on for dear life.
So my challenge for all of us this year is to get off the carousel. This year, let’s stand up and say, in the immortal words of Twisted Sister, “We’re not gonna take it anymore!” I’m not generally a big fan of quoting Twisted Sister, but this phrase fit so well that I just had to use it. Anyway, we need to be intentional about getting off this crazy carousel of Christmas confusion. We need to decide that we aren’t going to get taken for a ride anymore by what the stores and the media and the world in general have done with this time of year.
I encourage you to take your time this holiday season. Walk a little slower. Don’t rush. Enjoy this time. And make it a point to reflect on what it’s all about. Take time to give thanks between now and Thanksgiving. Count your blessings. Remember what God has done for you. And then turn your sights on the birth of the Savior. Take time to consider this Jesus who came to earth as a little baby to become the sacrifice for all our sins.
This is a special time of the year. Let’s not miss it just because we are too busy. Take your time and peacefully enjoy this Christmas season.