This is Pastor Tim’s article published in The Evening Leader on Monday, Oct 7, 2019
The date of my writing of this article is Monday, September 30. I know you are reading it after that date, but the date of my writing of this article is significant. I had a terrible experience last night that I want to share it with you and it has to do with the date. My bad experience happened yesterday, which was September 29. It was a great Sunday. We had two wonderful worship services at Wayne Street, I had a wonderful lunch at Guarnieri’s, where I sat outside on a beautiful afternoon. Afterward, I went home and took a nap. All was well so far. After I got up, I went to Celina to do some grocery shopping at Walmart and that is when things went south in a significant way. I could not believe what my eyes were seeing.
I pushed my cart around the corner and to my great horror, there was an entire aisle filled with Christmas stuff. It took a few moments for my mind to come to terms with the terror unfolding down the aisle filled with bows and red trim. But when I realized what it was, I became faint, short of breath and had a tingling sensation down my left arm.
My friends, it is 88 days until Christmas. That is almost a quarter of a year! Shouldn’t we also tell everyone that it is also 454 days until Christmas? That is Christmas 2020!
You will never meet another person in your life who is more excited about Jesus’ being born than me. My whole life is about promoting the Gospel and making everyone aware of God’s magnificent grace. To be the pastor of a church and to work hard alongside some great people to build God’s Kingdom is one of the greatest honors of my life. But to start the quest of the commercialization of Christmas that we are now going to have to do for 88 days just breaks my heart. If we were going to spend 88 days getting excited about Jesus, then I couldn’t be more invested in this. But you and I both know that isn’t what we are going to spend these 88 days doing. We are going to spend this time engaging in materialism.
Jesus, who honored a widow for giving her last coin to God and told a parable about a farmer who wanted to build bigger and bigger barns never realizing his life was in danger, and we are going to celebrate His birth by engaging in an 88-day spending spree. To me, this does not honor the God I know. In fact, this cheapens the message. All of the great old Christmas carols will be turned into spending anthems and we are all going to be so sick of it that the thing we will be most excited about is getting it over so that it can end.
May this pastor give you some unsolicited advice? Don’t start Christmas yet. At least, let’s do Halloween first. That seems ridiculous for me to even say, but following Labor Day with Christmas seems to leave some stuff out. In fact, to follow Halloween with Christmas misses a major holiday in the middle. A little holiday known as Thanksgiving, or as it is now known, Black Friday Eve.
To be honest, I feel like I owe you an apology. I wrote this article, published the first week in October, warning you about Christmas. Maybe I am part of the problem. But the reason I want to address this issue is because I want you to enjoy Christmas and if we all start tying bows and hanging tinsel this early, we won’t be able to sustain the joy for 88 days. Then, instead of having a humble and enjoyable experience at the end of December, we will just be counting the days until we can return all of those Christmas gifts we don’t like.
The older I get, the more I feel myself turning into Statler and Waldorf, the two old guys from the end of the Muppets show who hated every episode. But there has to be a line drawn somewhere and I think saying that Christmas starting a month prior to Halloween is crossing an obvious line. Don’t compromise your Christmas celebration by starting too early. You will ruin what should be the greatest time of the year.