What?? It's beginning to look like Christmas on September 20. Wrong. Totally and undeniable WRONG.
Today at Kohl's I saw six fake Christmas trees adorned with shiny ornaments, at least 10 racks of all sorts of themed ornaments waiting for a happy Christian or at least Christmas celebrating home, Christmas stockings, wreaths and other stupid decorations. I was not a happy pastor!
This is the earliest that I've seen Christmas beginning to bud in the stores in the US. When I was a kid Thanksgiving heralded in the red and green glitz. When my kids were kids, you know what I mean, the merchandisers up'ped the kick off to Halloween. They had just about gotten rid of the leftover candy corn and Snickers on the Halloween sale table in the grocery stores before bringing out candy canes and ribbon candy.
But September 20 - BAH HUMBUG!!!
Last year, in Jerusalem I was starved for a little Christmas glitter. I mean STARVED. I would have been happy with some musak tunes like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" or better yet Trans-Siberian Orchestra's pulsating and ever so nauseating rendition of "Carol of the Bells". A little flocking on the mannequins would have been nice or some red and green somethings or other in the windows.
But not in Israel where Chanukiah's trump. I have to admit, it was nice not to get caught up in the Ho Ho Ho frenzy. Finally I could concentrate on the meaning of Advent and Christmas and the quiet beauty of the land at that time of year. Still, none the less, I missed my family and our traditions, my friends, the getting ready, the church greening and the scriptures of Advent.
My Christmas famine was filled though when I went to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. OK, so they overdo it in the West Bank in Manger Square with the party hats, the flashing star necklaces, cotton candy, the chintzy Christmas lights and a poster of Arafat posthumously wishing me a Peaceful Christmas. But at least it was something to mark the day. That's right DAY. Not the three month period of Christmas. It was never supposed to be like this I'm sure.
But I suppose that as long as the retail world is intertwined, no, overshadows Christ's birth we will welcome the Christmas season on September 20.
Does it have to be feast or famine?