Plymouth Congregational Church

God for All

Rushing Through the Christmas Season

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    As “Black Friday” is almost upon us, I hope we can all take a step back to remember just why we are celebrating this season. 
   The radio talk shows are filled with people calling in with their plans to stake out a spot in line at various stores in the pre-dawn hours.  But they also tell of how crazy it gets – how rude, pushy and impatient people can be during this day of shopping.
    Personally, I will be spending the day at home . . . maybe putting up our tree and decorating the house.  Years ago I went shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and told myself “never again!”  Each year I tell myself that I am going to “simplify” our Christmas and not get caught up in the rush of shopping, decorating, parties, etc.   That idea appeals to me so much that I could easily be the neighbor in this photo – the one with “ditto” on their house!  Each year I seem to do a little better, although it may have more to do with having older children and less energy than I used to!
   One activity my husband and I did give up was buying a live tree.  I always said I would never have an artificial tree, because you just have to have a real tree, with that real evergreen smell.  The first year we were on our own – the last of our five children being away at college – we waited later than usual to go out to buy our tree. It was freezing cold, and the “pickin’s were slim,” resulting in our driving to several places to find even a decent—looking tree.  At the last place, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “This is crazy!  Let’s go buy an artificial tree!”  So now we are the proud owners of a tall, perfectly-shaped artificial tree.  We just light that evergreen-scented candle and it’s almost like the real thing!
    How many Christmas activities do you participate in because you really want to, or because it’s “what we’ve always done?”  How many parties will you attend in December?  How many cards do you really need to send or presents do you really need to purchase?  By the time Christmas Day actually arrives, are you in the mood to celebrate Christ’s birth, or are you just glad to get the day over with?
   Why not consider, in lieu of a present, giving the gift of a memory?  Plan an outing with that special friend or older grandchild.  Last Christmas, we gave our four oldest grandsons tickets to Noah’s Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells.  Yes, we spent money to do this, but we all enjoyed the summer day that we spent together at the park.  And the grandsons are still talking about the experience. The tradition of spending time with family or friends will last far longer than most gifts.
   Shop if you must on Black Friday, but when you hear “Happy Holidays,” be sure to respond with “Merry Christmas!”   In that small way, let’s remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas.

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