This time last month, I went into WalMart to grab some trick-or-treat candy, and was taken aback when I got to the seasonal aisle. One entire side of the aisle was filled with orange and black bags of Halloween candy. The opposite side of the same aisle was filled with red and green bags of Christmas candy. It was a little unsettling to me. When another customer entered the aisle from the other end, I saw her stop suddenly with a confused expression. We both wondered aloud what happened to Thanksgiving.
Thankfully, (no pun intended) Thanksgiving still comes each year. And a few weeks after screaming for candy, we get to take a moment to appreciate our many blessings. But, we have to intentionally focus on the gratitude, because the next day is black Friday and life snowballs after that.
Although the candy aisle threw me for a loop, I've grown accustomed to the stores filling their shelves with Christmas decorations and gifts before leaves on trees change colors. However, this year I've noticed people decorating their lawns and houses with Christmas decorations earlier than ever before.
At first, the before-Thanksgiving Christmas lights twinkling around neighborhoods were as unsettling to me as standing in the center of the candy aisle. I called my mom last week and asked her to please pull out the large pilgrims I had stored in her shed and put them in her front yard. I held my breath, hoping that she wasn't about to say "But we've already put out the Christmas decorations." I should've known my mom and I think alike (even if I do take after my dad). She said "I've been meaning to call you and ask if I could use those." Then, she turned and asked my dad if he would put out the pilgrims before he went hunting the next morning.
And I'm looking at the twinkling lights and inflatable snowmen as more blessings to give thanks for. I am grateful that even in the midst of bad economic times, Americans still have their festive spirit. Even though we're fighting a war, we still have our freedom to celebrate and worship as we please. And even though the merchants want us to spend our money on frivolous gifts, they can't erase the fact that God sent us His son to carry out His perfect plan of salvation.
So, today while you are enjoying turkey, take a moment to be thankful.
Even if your life isn't going so well and you're feeling down, you can still be thankful for the Gift of Christmas. I'm pretty settled on that.