A Pastor’s Ponderings


Tis’ The Season

By Rev. Pete Hyde

The Thanksgiving newspaper hit the driveway with what must have been a three-pound-thud because of all the ads.  ‘TIS THE SEASON!!

The Thanksgiving meal was prepared and devoured, leftovers put away, football games were watched, naps taken and strategy laid out for Black Friday.  Christmas decorations were taken down from the attic.  ‘TIS THE SEASON!!!!

Stores were opening at 5 am.  No wait, 4am!  No wait, 3 am!  No wait, midnight!  (Why even close?)  The crowds, maddened by the opportunity to save a few dollars on a couple of loss-leader items, spend more than they can afford with the motto – “The more you spend, the more you save” being repeated over and over again in their minds to justify the spending frenzy.  Oh, here’s another great mantra I heard:  “I’m helping the economy recover!”  (Here’s a secret: Not if you’re going into debt you can’t afford.  That’s what got us in this economic mess to begin with). But, ‘TIS THE SEASON!!

Weepy Hallmark holiday TV specials set us up for disappointment because our lives and families will never be like those portrayed and all the circumstances of life don’t always have happy endings.  But, ‘TIS THE SEASON!!

I stepped out on our back porch one foggy morning last week.  The old, shag-bark elm looked kind of pitiful standing naked in the cold, gray morning. But it had been decorated for Christmas.  There among the bare, thin, witch-like fingers of the ends of the branches were wisps of shimmering silver decorations.  They were intricately made.  Each one individually crafted, no two alike.  The artists had been hard at work not knowing the full benefit of their craftsmanship.  Each web was delicate as a snowflake and glistened with pearl-like drops of water clinging to the individual strands of silky spider web.  The wispy decorations adorned a naked old elm tree and prepared it for the celebration of the birthday of the Savior.

So often our Advent and Christmas traditions and decorations have lost their original intent. We go through the motions because of “tradition” or decorating for the sake of decorating, or having parties for the sake of having parties, because that is what we are “supposed” to do this time of year; in fear someone will hang a “Bah-Humbug!’ sign on our door.  All these things are nice and good, except when they get in the way or blot out completely the real reason we have a holiday season.

During Advent – the time of preparation – I invite you to not only prepare your homes, but to prepare your hearts and souls for the celebration of the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as a gift of our Father in heaven to each one of his dear children here on this earth, whom he crafted individually just as the spider crafted the beautiful decorations on the elm tree.  He crafted each of us out of His goodness and mercy and set us here in the wilderness of this world to spread the joy of his message to all we meet.  This is the purpose of the celebration that is upon us.  ‘TIS THE SEASON!!”

Rev. J. Pete Hyde is Senior Pastor of Santa Rosa Beach Community Church. For more information please call 850-267-2599srbcc.com