Hijacked Holidays

By Debra L. Butterfield © 2012

As we enter the season of holidays, our celebrations and gatherings can divert our focus from the purpose for the holiday. Family gatherings, festive holiday parties, scrumptious food, and gift buying are not bad things. These activities help us enjoy the cold and snow of winter. They also help us forget the fact that it’s dark when we get up to go to work and dark when we leave to go home.

All these things can also become a burden. According to an article in the Detroit News today, the National Retail Federation forecasts the nation will spend $586.1 billion on holiday shopping during the months of November and December. They expect the average shopper to spend $749.51. Many will do it using credit. Our society’s need to impress our family and friends has hijacked our holidays!

How can we enjoy the holidays when fabulous feasts, pretty parties, and plentiful presents demand our attention? How can we truly celebrate when added financial burdens weigh us down for months afterwards? Consequently, we lose sight of all the blessings we do have and become focused on what we don’t have.

What are your motives for the spending the money you do for your Thanksgiving meal and the presents under your tree?

  • Do you do it because you feel it’s expected of you?
  • Because you need to impress others to be accepted by them or to feel good about yourself?
  • Do you buy all those presents to silence the clamor of your children or to assuage the guilt you feel for not spending time with them?
  • Or do you do it purely because you love your family and want to bless them from the bounty God has brought?

What I remember most about Thanksgiving and Christmas isn’t the food or how many presents I got. I remember the hours of fun we spent together around the table playing cards and board games. (Mouse Trap was the most mechanized game of my childhood.) I remember playing fox and goose out in the snow with my siblings and neighborhood friends. I remember the beautiful candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve.

It’s the time and love we share with family and friends that we remember most as the years fly by. We don’t have to spend money to give thanks and share our faith and hope in God.

Before we get too far into the holiday season, let’s take a moment to reflect and refocus. What are your motives and where is your attention?

The purpose for this season is to give thanks for the blessings God has brought throughout the year. Even Christmas is a holiday of thanks, a celebration of the amazing gift of his Son who came to earth as God With Us, and paid the price for our sins so that we might be reconciled with him, and share in the glorious eternity of heaven.

Have Thanksgiving and Christmas become a burden to you instead of a joy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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