One day it is 70 degrees and beautiful. The next day it is cold with forecasts of snow. Welcome to February in eastern, coastal North Carolina. With a light dusting of snow comes word of delayed openings and school closures. I realize that those of you who are transplants from up north, where you “KNOW SNOW”, find these delays and closures difficult to understand. From a southern perspective, maybe it’s that we experience so little snow, that we like to do it up right when it finally does occur! Take a little time off, enjoy it, etc. Or maybe it’s just that we have no clue how to drive in this stuff and for our own safety and the safety of others should simply stay put at home. The weather certainly appears to be confused. It is seemingly becoming more and more difficult to tell the seasons apart. The weather is not the only realm that is experiencing confusion these days.
It was about a week or so after Christmas that I began to see a transformation take place on the candy aisle of our local Walmart. Just a few days prior, the aisle was chocked full of Christmas goodies. You could find Hershey’s Kisses dressed in the colors of the season. Many of our favorite candies could be found in various seasonal shapes such as Christmas trees and bells instead of their regular, boring rectangular and circular shapes. However, after Christmas, all of this was now beginning to change. Now our favorite candies could be found in the shape of hearts. Small and large, beautiful heart shaped red boxes, with bows in some cases, began lining the shelves.
Have you made your New Year’s resolutions? For some of you it may be to lose some weight. For others it may be to get serious about an exercise program. For others it could be to learn something new that you’ve been putting off for way too long. And how about the wonderful goal to reduce or get out of debt? And the list goes on and on. The problem with New Year’s resolutions is not in making them. That’s easy enough. The hard part is in keeping them. Since it is so difficult to keep our resolutions, we should choose them wisely, and then pray asking God to give us the strength to fulfill them.
As the Christmas season draws near, we look forward to giving. Some of you, no doubt, have already completed some, if not all, of your Christmas shopping. It seems as though stores begin promotions and sales for the holiday season earlier and earlier every year! Children wait impatiently for the early morning hours of Dec 25th, when they will rush with excitement out of their bedrooms to the Christmas tree to see what Santa Claus has given to them. Christmas is all about giving. Although Christmas can at times become too focused on material things, at its heart we must admit that the spirit behind Christmas giving is actually the Spirit of Christ. What spirit then should characterize our giving this Christmas?
We look forward each year to Thanksgiving. It is a time when we enjoy great food, family, friends, and possibly a little football! This raises the question though, should Thanksgiving be isolated to one day of the year? For the Christian, the answer is no! We as Christians are called to be people of thanksgiving 365 days a year. We are instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. Why are we to give thanks in all circumstances?