“We’d love to have you come out for the holidays! Yay! It’s been too long! Looking forward to it so much!” Carol wrapped up her side of the phone call with the grown children on the first day of October.
Right after that, panic set in. She flip-flopped like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
For Carol had seen two of the big box stores shoving Halloween aside at the end of September. Employees burned the midnight oil jamming shelves with Christmas: artificial trees, garlands, bulbs, inflatable yard decorations, and truckloads of lights for the trees, the bushes, and the roofline. For the ladies, she even noticed lighted holiday necklaces already.
“Paul! We’ve got to get busy! The kids are coming out for Christmas! Can you fix the reindeer greeting sign today? An antler fell off. And do we have any blue bulbs? I’ve got to do a search on the activities going on at the time they’ll be here. I’ve got to plan an itinerary.”
She began to hyperventilate, “Oh, dear! So much to do! I need some new decorations for the tall living room tree we bought last year just before Christmas! It’s naked! I don’t have anything for it! Do they have the colored bulb sets at the Super Saver Store yet?”
“Carol, calm down,” Paul paused as he penned in dates and commitments in his appointment book. “We’ve got about twelve weeks or exactly—” he added the sum in his head, “eighty four days until Christmas.”
“Carol, sometimes you plan too much ahead.” That came from the man who took care of things just when they came up. “You packed for a cruise months ahead and yet forgot your toothbrush. Let’s just focus on the right things and leave some time for fun, too. Now stop holding your breath.”
Carol sighed at last.
Paul was right. They needed to focus on the right things as we all do. The retail and internet stores are cramming Christmas into the forefront in a plan for capitalizing on glitter, lights and a profit margin. The jingle mindset is stimulated with displays as early as September.
But time with God each day and each season not only paves the way for more spiritual growth, it provides a footing for all the challenges ahead and turns our eyes to the lasting light that leads us to Heaven – that of Christ Jesus.
Advice from the New Testament and still applies today. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on thigs above, not early things.” [Colossians 3:1-2 NIV]
And that focus on God’s Light will illuminate our hearts and homes for any who come to visit.
Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]