The Courier

I was in Canadian Tire a few months ago on a mission. It was the end of the summer season, and I was fervently hoping that the left-handed lawn edger with collapsible sun-shelter and double cup holder would be on sale. Or that they’d even have such a thing.

As I went into the lawn and garden section, I noticed that they’d already started putting out the Hallowe’en decorations. It was near the end of September, so I wasn’t shocked. But that soon changed! After two aisles of vampires, jack-o-lanterns, ghouls and ghosts, I ran smack dab into Frosty, Rudolph, Santa, and more elves than you’d find if the Keebler cookie factory blew up. Stunned, I muttered to myself (I do that a lot), “It’s not even the end of September!! And they already have Christmas stuff out!?”

The rule in our house is: we don’t decorate until the first Sunday of Advent (we’re up and running as of Saturday, one week early). I’m not holding anything against those who’ve been ready for months, but you may have a problem – you may be suffering from IKS – “Impacted Kringle Syndrome.” I’ve come up with a test to help you determine if you have this disease. Give yourself a point for every question to which you answer yes:

  1. Do you have more than five giant inflatable lawn decorations?
  2. Do you have heart palpitations at the sound of jingle bells?
  3. Do you wear Christmas cake perfume or body spray?
  4. Have your outdoor Christmas lights required zoning variance, or required EPCOR to rewire your street?
  5. Do you rent or own a shed or storage unit because you have more decorations than your house can hold?

If you scored more than 3 points, you may have a serious case of IKS. And at peril of your life, stay away from candy canes!

Getting ready for the holidays entails a lot of things: decorating, baking, buying gifts, stocking up on food, increasing the limit on the credit card, and so on. But in all our preparations, we often forget something, something very important.

Whether or not you make a big deal out of the holidays, this can be a hard time of year for many. Those who’ve lost a loved one in the preceding year may find this first Christmas without them very difficult. Others are reminded of the pain past Christmases held (not everyone had great childhoods). Others are going to be alone – family are too far away, and flights are too expensive, or their marriage has recently disintegrated. Still others struggle with mental health issues and Christmas – the time of good cheer, merry-making, and family gatherings – just reminds them how hollow they feel their lives are.

And many of these people are right here in 4 Wing. So while you prepare for the holidays and look forward to leave (well deserved, I might add!), don’t forget about your mates who may be struggling. Celebrate, by all means (be smart, though – don’t drink and drive!), but keep them in prayer, include them in your celebrations, invite them over for a meal, if COVID permits. Now, more than any time of year, we need to look out for each other.

When too many people are absorbed in what they’re getting, complaining about what they didn’t get, returning what they didn’t want, or wishing they had what they really wanted, many people wish for the simple gift of friendship, belonging, and human warmth. Why not give these gifts this year?

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