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I am one of those people who embraces our new days of technology to a great extent, but retains an appreciation for the old days and some of the old-time ways of years past. This colors my approach to Christmas, and to some of the other holiday seasons as well. For example, we have just had what the business world calls Black Friday, and I think Saturday was also given a special shopping-related name. Upcoming is what is being called Cyber Monday. We hardly get into Thanksgiving, which I consider to be a great day, before we are prompted to get started on our Christmas shopping. Personally, I called off Black Friday.

Apparently the stores weren't paying attention when I did it. They went right ahead and had it; but I canceled Black Friday. While I was at it, I also called off the Whatever-it-was Saturday; except that I went to the grocery store. Also, I am calling off Cyber Monday. Looking back on Black Friday, I wasn't there. It is like it never happened. My plans for Cyber Monday is to make it like that, like it never happened.

I notice that again this year there is a great competition going on between the regular shopping mall and the automotive industry for our seasonal trade. A few days ago, one of the car makers was advertising that Black Friday is a terrible, terrible time for shopping at the mall, but a wonderful time to shop for a new Honda. Ok. Also, GMC and Buick are running ads as they did last year, where they feature a shopper who faced the vexatious crowds to shop at the stores on Black Friday, and saved hundreds, but the other neighbor, who got a full eight hours of sleep, still saved thousands by bringing home a new GMC pickup or a new Buick automobile.

Apparently we are supposed to see the weary shopper who saved a few hundred dollars as a dummy for braving the mad rush at the stores, while the smart neighbor got something he or she really wanted and at the same time saved thousands of dollars. So maybe the dummy neighbor finished up with the Christmas shopping and is now free to go about other Christmas observances. Are we to believe that the smart new vehicle owner has no more Christmas shopping to do? And, how much did that smart vehicle buyer pay in order to save that $10,000? So he spent $40,000 to save $10,000, or to be told that he was saving $10,000, and he probably signed a contract agreeing to make substantial monthly payments for the next six years. But he really laid his dummy neighbor in the shade with his massively superior savings. Right? So you measure the success of your Christmas shopping by how much you saved by all your spending! Hmm!?

I'm noticing that even before Thanksgiving, several people had their Christmas lawn decorations and house lightings in place and turned on. They are way ahead of me. Okay, I'm going to concede that race even before it begins. I come from the time before home electricity. We didn't have any lighted decorations or inflatable Santa Clauses. Well, I back up, we could put a candle in the window, or set the coal oil lamp in the window to give the house a certain light and charm on a dark winter night. There actually was light in the house before electricity. And, Christmas trees were actually wonderful even before they were electrified. We didn't have strands of lights for the tree, but we had strands of popcorn (some colored) which we strung with needle and thread, and we had colored streamers or strands made of interlocked loops of colored paper. We cut up strips from the funny papers to make those loop strands. Some people even had candleholders which attached to the limbs of the Christmas tree; but candles on an evergreen tree are dangerous, and we didn't do candles on the Christmas tree at our house.

We, of course, always have some getting ready for Christmas to do in the sense of doing our gift shopping and doing our decorations, but I more and more appreciate the centuries-old tradition of the Christian church which celebrates the season of Advent as a preparation for Christmas.

We would be helped in our society if we remember that Christmas is a church season, a church celebration. We need first and foremost to remember who Christmas is about, the Christ, Jesus. The church from ancient times has observed four weeks of getting ready for Christmas, four Sundays just before Christmas Day, as a time to get heart and mind ready to celebrate Christmas. Whereas our society seems to want to start Christmas on the evening of Thanksgiving, the church is content to wait until Dec. 25 to start Christmas, then to celebrate Christmas time until Jan. 6 (Twelve Days). That gives us time to fully do Thanksgiving, and then get into a good time of reviewing the scriptural expectations of the coming of the Messiah, and to appreciate the Biblical events leading up to the birth of the Savior.

That I think is the real heart of getting ready for Christmas!

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Editor's note: Jerry Nichols, a native of Pea Ridge and can be contacted by email at joe369@centurytel.net, or call 621-1621. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 11/29/2017

Print Headline: Getting ready for Christmas

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