*Posted by Kirk Spencer
I never thought I’d see Christmas ornaments at Wal-Mart in September or hear Christmas carols on the radio before Thanksgiving. I guess I’ll get used to it—what choice do I have—but for now, it just seems wRong with a capital “R.” For God has made everything beautiful in its own season. He has also set seasons in our hearts; yet we can’t seem to figure out when one season begins and the other ends. All the boundaries are getting lost in the “blur.” Less and less, are we taking time to enjoy each season in its turn. It is as if the holidays have been put in a blender and puréed and we are “drinking” them through a straw—easier for our on-the-go culture to “digest.” However, if we’re not careful, we may find ourselves “enduring” the seasons, rather than “enjoying” them.
The preacher, long ago, recognized that we should take time to eat and drink and be as merry as possible before we return to dust. This is the profit in all our labor. The holidays are just such times to slow down and enjoy the fruit of our labor—a time to cease from making, buying and selling—a time to taste God’s rest. However, recently, even these holy days are being taken for the purpose of more making, buying and selling. The Holiday “Mash-Up” has become the Holiday “Cash-In.” It may just be me, but it seems like I’m hearing more about Black Friday than Thanksgiving Thursday these days. The “blackness” is spreading. Black Friday’s long lines at sunrise have become long lines at midnight—now I’m hearing that this year’s Black Friday will start at 8pm on Thanksgiving Thursday. I think it is safe to say that it is only a matter of time until Thanksgiving Thursday will be black also. My wife calls it the “black” plague. I fear that soon the Holy (“different”) Day of Thanksgiving will be just like any other day, a day for buying and selling. If so, we can both “ring-in” the seasons and “wring- out” the last dollar at the same time. But there is one thing we might miss in the “mash-up” (and the cash-in), something beyond eating and drinking, and buying and selling, something even beyond the dust. Before the first Easter Sunday, was the blackest of Black Fridays. This Black Friday made “good” on our debt of sin, through God’s red life. Good Friday, as it is called, not only put us “in the black” by paying our sin debt, but removed the blackness of our inadequacy forever. And God wraps His grace gift in each season… then He invites us to unwrap it. And if we do, and we accept His present in faith, we have a future. We find God’s rest, not just before we’re dust, but beyond the dust.