Do you hear what I hear? Yup! The bells of Christmas. Stores put out Halloween and Thanksgiving merchandise simultaneously these days, so when Halloween is over, out come the Christmas displays. It just seems to be the natural order of things anymore—the marketing strategy which succeeds, practically, anyway—in aiding greed in squelching out Thanksgiving.
What's more, I've heard some heralders of the season describe their wares as "all kinds of Christmas items, some of which are religious." Duh. Double Duh! I get what they mean—they are trying to say without coming out and saying it that, incidentally, there are some items in their Christmas inventory that actually have a little something to do with the reason for the season. I was actually a little confused on why they figure there should have to be a separate little "category."
My perspective is...that it's a worldview, lumped into the same mindset that says the Bible is just so much history—irrelevant to today—or that at least the first part of it is. Many see it as a compilation of stories about dry bones and arid deserts and a few bigger-than-life characters who fit right in there with and carry the same level of validity as Goldilocks and fairy princesses and Rudolph and the Grinch. In other words, it seems to me that in a world of superb over-stimulating 3-D, we've become de-sensitized, dumbed down to a dull, black and white, single dimensional way of thinking.
Have we flat-lined to that degree? In a pre-Advent series which our pastor began this week, he read a little of that "supposedly unrelated history." Take a look at it here with me and see if it doesn't add a dimension or two to the season. "Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore...through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me."—God.
Those were God's words to Abraham. You may have read the story before. The story of Abraham's unwavering obedience. The story of God's faithfulness. The story of how that relates to our world. To us. To Christmas. Stop with me for a minute in the middle of the craziness that surrounds us at this time of the year and let that grace ooze into your soul like butter on your hot breakfast bagel. And hear those bells in a new way this CHRISTmas.
Email Willene at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Willene Tanis is a longtime resident of the Imlay City area and an active volunteer in the community. Many readers find her 'Perspectives' column to universal and uplifting.