Sigh. In the last few weeks, I have suddenly found myself trying not to look. It is kind of like driving through the red light district or by a horrible car accident, though, and I struggle to not see what is around me.

”Christmas.”

Or as I like to call it, the December consumer season.

Why is it that the Church has been so ineffective against this tide of creeping conspicuous consumerism? Why is it that so many who follow Christ succumb to Mall Time instead of resting into Church Year Time?

While this may make me sound like a crabby old lady, in reality, I am sad. I overheard someone the other day say that they were already sick of Christmas and it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet. (Remember, Thanksgiving is supposedly the time when we as a nation stop and give thanks to God for all of our blessings. Now, the food has hardly hit our stomachs before the retailers want to drag us out for pre-Black Friday savings.)Image result for free photo Thanksgiving chasing Christmas away

The star that is in my town now goes on around Veteran’s Day. I used to anticipate its lighting; now, I try not to look at it because it makes me so sad.

Two things are happening, as I see it: the message of Christmas is being completely swallowed up by commercialism-run-amok. Children don’t even know Christmas carols anymore, only non-descript “holiday” songs. Even faith communities rush to get their Christmas programs over early in December so everyone “can enjoy the holidays.” Does anyone else think this is wrong?

The second thing I see happening is that, as the whole scenario gets so out of hand, there may be a backlash beginning. People are refusing to rush away from the table at Thanksgiving to go shopping. Advent and its themes are being re-discovered even in faith communities that have never heard of the Church Year calendar. Conspicuous consumerism is beginning to fade into memorable times and experiences together as family and friends. Handmade, local mean even more when gifts are given. Black Friday becomes a time to do alternative events, like being outside as a family.

God invites, even commands, us to celebrate but I challenge you to find true celebration in so much of what passes for “holiday cheer” in this culture. How many of us come to January exhausted and in debt, thrilled that the holidays are over? The Discipline of Celebration from God’s perspective leads to life and joy and goodness.

If what you are planning in the next five weeks doesn’t do that for you, it’s not too late to re-evaluate!