Thanksgiving During the Christmas Season

canstockphoto17610900I have a a friend who is also in ministry and among the things that we share is a love for the Christmas season. Whether it’s because I’m a pastor or because I’m an adult—probably both—the Christmas season passes far too quickly. I like to savor it, so I like to stretch it out as long as possible.

My friend takes that concept to the extreme.

He and his wife put up a Christmas tree as soon as the World Series is over.

It doesn’t come down when Christmas is over, however, or even immediately after New Year’s Day. They simply change the ornaments each month, cumulating in April after baseball season starts and they decorate the tree with Orioles stuff.

He says that in his house there are two seasons: Christmas season and baseball season.

I’ll come back to him.

I’m not sure when this actually started but a few years I was in a grocery store in late October and there was a section of shelves dedicated to holiday decorations.

And right next to the Halloween decorations there were Christmas decorations. 

I would have thought that maybe there would have been Thanksgiving decorations in between, but no—it was Halloween, then Christmas.

It used to be that Thanksgiving was seen as its own holiday, but at some point Thanksgiving just became the official kickoff to the Christmas season.  You’d eat some turkey, watch some football, and get ready for Black Friday. 

Now the Christmas season gets kicked off right after Halloween—or maybe right after the World Series—and then we just blow right through Thanksgiving. 

Heck, now it almost seems like Black Friday actually begins a couple of weeks before Black Friday! What kind of holiday time-warp are we in?

Thanksgiving has become just a momentary blip in the Christmas season.

Back to my friend. It appears that he plays into the culture’s blow-through-Thanksgiving malaise, right? There are just two seasons, baseball and Christmas?

But he’s not so crass.

We get together regularly to talk about our spiritual lives and challenge and encourage one another in our walk with Christ.  His focus lately is in wanting to be more thankful about everything.

Toward that end, beginning fifty days before Thanksgiving he has made a concerted effort to be aware of things in his life for which he needs to be thankful.  In the evening he reflects  on his day and writes in a journal about the things he is thankful for in that day.

So, while on the outside it may appear that he goes straight from baseball season to the Christmas season, in reality he is consciously working to develop a real spirit of thanksgiving in his soul. 

And that is more than just a blip in the Christmas season.

Rather than seeing Thanksgiving as a kickoff to Christmas, maybe we ought to view the Christmas season as an opportunity to develop a spirit of thanksgiving in our souls. 

To reflect on the people, the events, and the circumstances in our lives for which we can be thankful. 

To learn to be content with who we are, with who others are, with where we are in life, and with what we have. 

To be less materialistic and more aware that, unlike a lot of people in our world, we don’t have to worry about literally surviving another week or even another day. 

And to do something for those who do.

Photo by © Can Stock Photo Inc. / bazilfoto

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