This is Tim’s Evening Leader article from Sept 28, 2020
Two Sundays ago, it was a beautiful afternoon. I decided to take a walk and walked from my house down to Dollar General. That is a typical walk for me because it is a nice distance away. My normal routine is to go in and buy a couple of Hot Wheels to add to my collection. I have a closet in my office at church that is filled with over 100 Hot Wheels. Every time I go into a store, I look over the Hot Wheels and I buy 1 or 2….or 12 that I think are cool. No big surprise, I buy all the Batman ones I can find. I am saving them for some children’s event here at the church so I can give them all away. I am currently hoping to set something up for trick or treat.
Well, this particular Sunday, I was walking down there on the hunt for a cool new Hot Wheels. I found one I liked, even though it wasn’t Batman. But then on my way to the cash register, I had a horrifying experience. In fact, I am still traumatized by this. I ended up crying myself to sleep that night after witnessing this barbaric scene unfold right before my eyes. I know this is a family newspaper, but I feel the need to comment on the horror that shook my life down to the very core. Please be prepared for what I am about to share.
There was an aisle already full of Christmas items.
I literally pulled out my phone and checked the date because I didn’t think it took me THAT long to walk to Dollar General. It appeared to still be the same day since I left my house, which means Christmas was over 3 months away!
Now, I don’t blame the good people who work at Dollar General. I will still make trips down there for Hot Wheels when the weather is nice, even if I may take a different aisle back to the toy section. I am sure this is a corporate decision. I just don’t know if I can live with it.
I am all about Jesus. I am sure none of you find that surprising. I celebrate Jesus in my life literally every single day, but can we stop with the taking down the American flags we put up for Labor Day and putting out snowmen and tensile? I give them credit – there were no Christmas Carols playing. They must wait to do that until right before Halloween. But this feels like sprinting off the starting blocks for a marathon.
My birthday is shortly after Christmas and it would feel weird for me to start the celebration of Tim three months in advance. Now, you could make a good argument to say that Jesus is more important than me, and I would wholeheartedly agree with you. But my point is, the celebration would lose something if it started three months prior. I don’t know that I have the stamina to be excited about something that is going to be in my face every time I am in public for three solid months. It doesn’t come off as sincere, it just feels disingenuous.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Retail establishments celebrating Christmas before churches have even ordered new Advent candles has nothing to do with reverence or honor of the birth of the Savior of the world. It is about exploiting the nostalgic feeling we all get around the holidays and that makes us long for home and situations that don’t exist anymore. The only thing left to do is spend to try to recreate what used to be, and no amount of money can make that time come back. Believe me, no one hates that reality more than me.
So, let me be in line with our sisters and brothers in retail and wish you a Merry Christmas. I don’t say that because I want to bring up longing or desire for what used to be. I say that because the celebration is about a Savior who stated clearly in Revelation 21:5 that He is “making all things new.” Part of that newness that Jesus creates is restoration. The whole idea of repentance that Jesus calls for is about going back and starting over. The world may be different, your situation may be different, heck, you are probably different than you used to be. The yesterday that we all miss so much may not be coming back, but the celebration of Christmas is about God’s dedication to renewal.
In the meantime, don’t allow your longing for what can never be again cause you to give up on the recognition of the entrance of the Savior of the World.
Also pace yourself, we are going to be at this for three more months…