The Speed of the Season…
Just last Thursday, it was Thanksgiving and it seems like that was months ago already. Before the turkey was cold, we were getting ads about Black Friday for a multitude of one day only sales. Then, as if out of nowhere, the sales were extended so we got hyped up over nothing – a false pretense of immediacy that really wasn’t honest, was it? After Black Friday, we had Small Business Saturday – when we are supposed to patronize those local businesses who depend so much on the holiday season.
Tomorrow is Cyber Monday, the largest single day online purchasing day of the year. Each year, more and more people are doing their buying online and the numbers are staggering for e-commerce. In fact, it is anticipated that online merchants will sell more than $6.6 BILLION this Cyber Monday. I guess Janet and I are a little counter culture when it comes to expectations this time of year.
We never go out and shop the sales on Black Friday and I can’t remember the last time we purchased something online during Cyber Monday. Many coupons will expire and go unused but we would rather avoid the crowds, slow down a little and enjoy the season without feeling that we have to conform to the expectations of the merchants each year.
After all, Black Friday signifies the date that most small businesses finally break even for the year. Presumably, from Black Friday on, the businesses make their profit for the year until December 31st, when they close the books and start the process all over again. Kind of like a hamster on a wheel, isn’t it? So it makes sense that they try to accelerate sales the last month or so of the year to make up for eleven months of living hand to mouth and managing their expenses.
But Cyber Monday doesn’t signal the end of the insanity. That’s because we then have Giving Tuesday! Yep, the day that non-profits ask for donations prior to the end of the year. In 2016, people gave more than $180 million, up from only $10 million four years earlier. In 2017, estimates topped $274 million for giving on this one day. The trend continues to escalate each year and with that kind of growth, it makes sense that more and more charities are jumping on the bandwagon.
Add to all this activity the football games, parades, decorations and other traditions of the season and you can see that there is barely time to sit back and enjoy Jesus – the real reason for the season. I vividly remember my grandfather telling me to hurry up and slow down. That’s what we all need about now. But let’s not confuse “slowness” with patience. Sometimes slow is just slooooowwwwww… too slow… but what we crave, especially during this season, is a little patience with one another. Life is just more pleasant when we increase our tolerance and have time for each other.
Our verse for this evening highlights the fact that Jesus is patient with us because He loves us. And He wants each of us to come to Him in due time. The apostle Peter tells us, in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance…” Isn’t that a great message for this season in particular?
My encouragement tonight is that God wants us to be patient, just as Jesus is patient. It’s time to get on with life at a slower pace, recognizing that speed isn’t everything. My prayer is that we will kick back a little, increase our tolerance even more and have a truly meaningful Christmas season. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…