What We’re Forgetting

th-1I generally listen to K-LOVE radio in my car. I find the Christian music inspiring. But every now and then, I’ll switch over to the classic rock station (93.1 in the Sacramento area) for a walk down memory lane. I did just that the morning of November 1st and received an unpleasant shock. Christmas music. A sneak peek into the upcoming season? Nope. Every time I switch over it’s still playing—24/7 as far as I can tell. Seriously?

I love the Christmas season as much as the next person, probably more than many. But I don’t understand the rush. September finds many shops setting up Christmas trees and decorations for sale. Before the end of October, the media’s already discussing Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving. A day that is disappearing at an alarming rate. Instead of basking in the traditions of turkey, dressing and giving thanks with family, we’re inundated with counting down the shopping days, planning out our strategy to get the most “stuff” for the least amount of money. And we all know what the catalyst is for this—sales figures.

Walmart, Kmart, Kohl’s, Toys R Us, JCPenney, Macy’s and Sears (to name a few) are all open on Thanksgiving, hoping to rake in consumer bucks. And sadly, their stores will most likely be packed. It’s bad enough that shopping is a priority for many Americans. It’s bad enough that Thanksgiving is becoming the forgotten holiday. But if our focus on the Christmas season is raking in the good deals, then we’re clearly not celebrating the birth of Christ, but instead, we’re bowing to the idolatry of consumerism.

A couple weeks ago, there was a blurb for an upcoming news story—how to get through the holiday season without maxing out the credit card. I imagine some poor guy time-traveling into our realm from the 19th century—or even the early 20th century—and getting a sad glimpse of the culture today. He’d be hard pressed to find the meaning of Christmas in our attitudes and trends.

This isn’t a big surprise. In a culture where Christmas trees are now called “holiday” trees and “Merry Christmas” is considered politically incorrect, why would we assume that Jesus is still the reason for the season? And why would we wast our time on a holiday (Thanksgiving) that doesn’t focus on material things?

There’s no doubt that I can’t affect the winds of change, but I certainly don’t have to be part of it. In my own little world, Christmas decorations won’t see the light of day until after Thanksgiving. While others are out shopping, I’ll be baking Christmas cookies and making paper bag ornaments (sorry kids). More time will be spent praising Jesus than wrapping (or opening) presents. Not that there’s a problem with the occasional Christmas gift. But when the focus is on what we buy or open, rather than actual reason Christmas even exists, we need to take serious stock, because Jesus has somehow gotten lost along the way.

2 thoughts on “What We’re Forgetting

  1. I fully agree. Where is the true meaning of Christmas? And, Where is Thanksgiving. Yes I do start early on Christmas presents, because I make most of them. Last year it was an afghan for each of my children. This year it is wood burned pictures. But I was appalled when I heard Christmas music last week in Long John Silvers, really? Even the ladies working there could not figure it out. In our family, Thanksgiving is a holiday all its own. It is a day spent with family and giving thanks that we have one. There are plenty days to shop. The stores are all open extra early and stay open late. Everything in our society today is driven by money. It is very sad, indeed.

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