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In Its Season

Commercial retailers need to remember their Old Testaments. We're all familiar with the Time Poem of Ecclesiastes 3 ("To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven") -- and yet I still see Christmas things in stores before Halloween. There is a time, people, and that time is not now.

We rush the last three holidays of the year, cramming them one on top of the other. Halloween begins in September, but the Christmas decorations show up before the candy starts going on sale. Today is November 1st, but I've been hearing about Black Friday sales for a couple of weeks. It should be noted, too, that every year we speak less about Thanksgiving and more about Black Friday. I consider it one of life's worst ironies that we in America spend one day a year, and only that day, being thankful for all we have, and then cut short that giving of thanks to go stand in line to get even more stuff. We don't even feel shame for it anymore; instead we fight and take pride in our greed, our skill and prowess in acquiring more.

Notice what truly gets left out, then? If we spend time and money preparing for Halloween, and if Christmas starts in October, and if we're more worried about the after-Thanksgiving sales than the Thursday before it . . . well, we completely skip Thanksgiving itself. The first federal holiday goes by as nothing more than "Turkey Day" or a day to strategize which shops to hit in what order the next day. We may get together with family, we may have pumpkin pie, but mostly we don't think about things.

Everything comes in its season, and we are in a season to give thanks. While we should be constantly giving thanks to God, we should be more aware of it, more deliberate about it, in the coming days. Take nothing for granted. Truly count yourself blessed. And don't skip over this holy day just to get to the next one. Take them in their season.

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