The Hunt for the Missing Holiday

by Ethan Horst

It happens every year. As soon as the first of November dawns, the now out-of-date jack o’lanterns and skeletons are relegated to the clearance racks, replaced by shiny new Santas and Christmas trees. The invasion on the radio is even more subtle; one radio station quietly starts playing carols and classics of holiday cheer, and then two more follow. This starts a chain of dominoes that ends when carols are echoing out of every car radio and place of business.  

While the retail establishments and radio stations of the world are the harbingers and prophets of the switch, they are not the only participants. I know a number of people personally who, even as early as July, are posting memes about how much they want to be hanging Christmas lights and how it should be socially acceptable to be belting out Jingle Bells while on summer vacation. All the while, I can only wonder what happened to Thanksgiving.

Do not mistake me. I enjoy Christmas and all its trappings. However, I worry about diving into the season at the cost of celebrating life as it comes. Familiarity breeds contempt; our attempts to extend the Christmas season strains it beyond what it can bear. The longer the Christmas music plays, the less I enjoy the festive tunes. Furthermore, any song that reminds me of the worn-out hits, even classic carols and hymns set my teeth on edge. The lights lose their magic and become another cord to trip over. Everything that is good about Christmas seems far away, and into this void, advertisers step. They promise that if you buy this peppermint flavored oreo, that gingerbread latte, the other perfect gift for the ones you love, then your Christmas spirit will be rejuvenated, bringing joy to earth and goodwill to men. However, just like everything else, this falls short and leaves us, “just a little colder, just a little sadder, just a little older,” to borrow from “We Need A Little Christmas.”

As Christians, we know the reason. Fulfillment, satisfaction, joy all do not come from food, people, gifts, or a holiday season. That only comes from Jesus, and as much as we Christians like to claim that we are celebrating our saviour’s birth, our festivities too often look no different from those of the world. Besides, if we are not glorifying him during the rest of the year, a little extra celebration during the last two months of the year are not going to make much difference.

Instead of focusing so much attention on Christmas this year, enjoy everything that comes up to it. Say goodbye to the leaves before they actually are covered with that Midwest snow. Be thankful for the blessings of the now, enjoy the blessings of Thanksgiving, and the Tuesday after it. Bring joy to the world by showing Christ’s love in every situation, instead of playing “Joy to the World” as loud as you can, for the tenth time. Please.