We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20 (NIV)
I heard Michael W. Smith on the radio say that the Christmas season begins for his family “After Thanksgiving.” I agree that Christmas preparations should not start until then. I struggle with waiting as Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year, but I feel strongly that we need to spend time counting our blessings. From early October until Thanksgiving Day, my house is filled with fall decorations that remind me to give thanks. However, when does the Thanksgiving holiday end and Christmas begin? That is my dilemma as the stores and even the Christian radio stations would have me believe that Christmas starts much earlier. Yesterday, I reasoned that Thanksgiving ended as soon as the second of our big family meals ended. By 3:00 in the afternoon, I rallied my family to string Christmas lights on our house and gate and haul the boxes of decorations down from the attic and closets where they are stored eleven months a year. I think I jumped the gun a bit though, because instead of bringing me pleasure, the upheaval caused me much grief. My husband is not a scrooge, he loves Christmas and in fact, his office has been playing Christmas carols since September. But, he does not like change, clutter or disruption of his routine. To rearrange the furniture, cram nativity scenes on each shelf and mantle, and erect a twelve foot tree in our living room, is a source of anxiety to him. Youngest son was looking forward to an afternoon in the front of the television. Neither planned to spend the day scrubbing the porch so the garland could be strung or climbing a ladder to hang lights. By 5:00, my husband had enough and very grumpily lay down on the bed and refused to get back up. Youngest was in the middle of a movie. By 7:00, I was feeling lonely and isolated as I struggled to put up the tree and cover it in lights and garland by myself. By 9:00, I decided this would be the last Christmas we would have a tree. Then, something miraculous happened. About the time I was ready to give up, both husband and youngest son wandered in to help. Youngest son can reach the top of the tree now without a ladder. He rearranged the lights and garland and put the angel on, making jokes about how the branches stuck in her bottom must hurt. Husband carried all the boxes back upstairs. My problem came from having a to do list that involved others without consulting them about my plans. As I go into the holiday season, I must remember that it is not what I do that will make the holiday special. It will be spending time with family and remembering why we celebrate the season. When you come down to it, it is still all about giving thanks. The Son of God came to earth and in Him, we find our worth as children of God. Rejoice!