By: G. J. Fortier
There you are, happily living your life, settled into a routine, sometimes wondering how you get it all done. You have your job, football (or, you can insert your sport of choice … or multiple thereof … here) practice, parent teacher’s conferences, piano lessons, dance class, karate practice, Church, Bible study, AWANA, Upward basketball, men’s ministry meetings and … well … you get the idea. Then there’s yard work, housework, laundry, cooking, cleaning and that dreaded “honey-do” list. It really is amazing how you keep it all in balance without driving those around you or yourself crazy, but somehow you manage. And then, just when you thought you had it all planned out, they creep up on you so stealthily that when you realize it’s time to prepare, it’s very nearly too late.
What am I talking about, you ask?
The horror that is … the holidays!
Yes, it’s that time of year again, and there’s no getting around it. No matter who you are or where you are in life, you cannot avoid the headache, heartache and sheer frustration of a season that lasts for … could it really be … two-and-a-half months!
Yes, it’s two-and-a-half months long!
It starts with Halloween (for those of you who allow(ed)) your kids to participate in the costumed, candy-gathering ritual. Or maybe you just take them to the Fall Festival at church. Whichever, chances are, you’re doing something extra on or about the 30th of October.
Then, there’s Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving! That holiday when families come together to share a meal, watch some football (or not, depending how you stand on the whole “freedom of speech issue”) and prepare for that other dreaded (and sometimes, it seems, obligatory) ritual of joining thousands and thousands of others in a descent on all of the local retailers for the privilege of going into debt in the name of spending money to buy gifts for people who really don’t want or need them, all in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, assuming, that is, that we’re even aware of the true meaning of Christmas (which, judging from the behavior of some the people on that video you watched, we don’t).
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling around us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1: 14 (NIV)
Christmas! Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas! I always have. It’s a chance to show children our love for Jesus by giving them gifts in His name, because we can’t give them directly to Him. What a great sentiment, not to mention a teachable moment for us as Christian parents. Oh, there are some who say that it’s a stolen holiday because some Brainiacs figured out that Jesus was actually born in the Spring, Summer or Fall, depending on who you ask. They say that it uses all kinds of pagan symbolism, the tree, the music, the blah, blah, blah! But I don’t care. I love Christmas … and I hope you do too!
Then comes New Years! A time for people to let loose their inhibitions, drink too much and be promiscuous in order to celebrate the fact that the Earth has, once again, circled the Sun without running into anything major … like a planet … just like it has countless times since God made it so. Really? I mean, you’d think that we’d be used to it by now, right? But sadly, it seems we aren’t, so the ritual goes on and on and …
And then it’s over. We return to our drab existence of … well … everything I covered in the first paragraph and more. Dealing with the weight we gained as a result of our indulgences, and the bills that start rolling in for the gifts we bought that nobody really wanted.
Now, this may have sounded just a little bit cynical thus far (how unusual for me, I know), but it’s really not meant to be. I really do love this time of year … and hate it, all at the same time. I love the cool weather, the changing of the seasons and football (Go Pats!). It’s both my favorite time of year … and my least favorite, and here’s why. There are many of us who don’t have children to take trick-or-treat-ing, or families to share a meal with on Thanksgiving, or people to buy stupid gifts for to exchange on Christmas morning, or … well … I really don’t care about New Year’s … other than it’s an extra day off from work. There are those of us who’s family lives too far away for it to be practical to travel and spend time with, and others that simply have no family at all. Some of us have “celebrated” the holidays by ourselves for so long that we really wouldn’t be comfortable being around people during them anyway.
At least that’s what I tell myself.
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
It’s hard sometimes, at least for me, to remember the scripture above when it’s 9:00 AM on December 25th and I’m by myself, eating Cheerio’s and watching The Lord of The Rings trilogy for the 17th time. I have no idea what other people do, but that’s my ritual (though sometimes I do switch it up and watch a Star Trek marathon).
“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18 (NIV)
That’s when I break out my Bible, for there is scripture there that reminds us (and who among us doesn’t need reminding from time to time) that Jesus is with us always. He just doesn’t leave us.
“When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.” Psalm 27:10 (NIV)
But still, for some of us, it’s more of a relief when the holidays are over than you can possibly imagine.
G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his book, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 available on Amazon for Kindle and at www.smashwords.com. Or visit his website at www.mirroredman.com. Coming soon! Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2.