As if you need it, you now have my permission to shop.  

You have my permission to shop for Christmas because Thanksgiving is now officially over. I’m not exactly sure when Thanksgiving ends. It may have ended when the last turkey sandwich was gobbled or it may have been when the Dallas Cowboys threw their last incomplete pass last Thursday. But, nonetheless, something happened at the table or on the TV or with the stroke of the grandfather clock at midnight. Thanksgiving 2019 is over, and you can officially begin the madness of Christmas. So, “On your mark; get set; go.”

You see, I love Thanksgiving, and I think that Thanksgiving gets shortchanged because we are in such a hurry to get to Christmas. Christmas frenzy begins about mid-October. I don’t like that. Chill out.

We have this debate at our house every year. The other members of my family want to start hearing “Santa Clause is Coming to Town,” “Silent Night,” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” in mid-August. I don’t like Christmas music until Christmas, that is, until Thanksgiving is over. Actually, I would prefer Christmas music to begin about mid-December, but good luck with that.

So, you now have the minister’s blessing to start playing those songs and doing your shopping thing—whether that is in the store or on-line.

I suppose it is time now, also, for all the Christmas decorations to go up. I’d prefer waiting awhile on that too, but that seems a hopeless cause. It seems we would enjoy them more if we waited till mid-December. But our family won’t wait and our culture won’t wait. There is too much money to be made for us to wait. So, I am sure I will see you soon in line to buy a tree or in line to have gifts wrapped at a local store.

Our church has already been beautifully decorated for Christmas at the Hanging of the Green service. And one of those decorations is a beautiful nativity scene that is on display. Years ago one of our church’s children called it an “activity scene.” Nativity and activity not only sound alike, they are alike.

At the original nativity scene there was lots of divine activity going on. God was at work performing a miracle in our midst. The incarnation is God putting on human flesh. The God of the universe chose not a path of passivity but rather, activity, because of his great love for us.

Read the Christmas story and note all the “active” verbs. An angel “appeared” to Joseph, Mary shall “bring forth” a son, the wise men “fell down” and “worshipped” Him, and the angel of the Lord “came upon” the shepherds.

So, you now have my permission to get busy in the holiday season. May you find peace in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season. But, please can we hold off on “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” until Christmas Eve? Wasn’t it Santa’s reindeer who clobbered granny?

~Pastor Steve

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