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With the start of October, we've officially entered what I call "Holidaytide." In the church calendar, the fifty days following Resurrection Sunday are Eastertide; the twelve days of Christmas are Christmastide; and so I've proposed we refer to the months of October, November, and December collectively as "Holidaytide." From here until the end of the year, we prepare for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (or, as a great-grandmother once said in 1999, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the end of the world -- you never know). New Year's Day will almost immediately follow, and the holidays roll on.

We generally get a pretty early start on a few of those. I spied Christmas decorations in Kmart last week, and the Halloween candy has been out for a while now, it seems. I wish we would take things in the proper order, but the great irony is that we worry so much about getting candy and then getting other gifts we bypass the one day we set aside to be thankful for what we already have. (Black Friday doesn't help matters, either.) We miss the fact holidays are holy days -- the origin of the word itself. They are days set aside for worship, for communion with God and with His Church.

Such things happen all too rarely, I'm afraid. We're much too focused on ourselves to give God a bit of our time on our holy days. As we begin this season for 2018, however, I want to challenge you to slow down, pause a bit, and remember God in all you'll do over the next several months. Get candy, but celebrate All Saints Day the following day. Give thanks to a merciful, giving, loving God. Hide the presents for a few minutes and think on the incomparable gift of the Christ-child. Keep the holy in your holidays.

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