How Many Days until Christmas!?

As I took my daily stroll into Walmart on Tuesday, an extremely large barrier confronted me. It was a countdown calendar announcing the number of days until Christmas. “Days until Christmas 50”. There it was in BIG DIGITS –50

I’m sure it was intended as a public service announcement. After all, who wants to get caught up in all that last minute Christmas shopping? Thank you Walmart for being so considerate of my mental health! Although, I’m sure the case could be made that any merchant might use this ploy to jolt procrastinating shoppers into action. After all the bottom line for any so-called business PSA, is to increase sales.

I’m not sure how effective this ploy was. Rather than shopping, perhaps panic, terror, anxiety, melt down mode, and depression, are the more likely actions of viewing such information. For me, rather than stay and shop I wanted to run to my safe place.  

This emotional encounter caused me to ponder the daily moments we spend focused on some future event rather than appreciating the value of the moment. For example, the last seconds of the year are a total loss. As the big ball in Times Square makes its descent, rather than embracing the very last moments of the present year, we have already dismissed it as we join the “Final Countdown.” What a waste of time ….  

Oh, I know we have to plan and we have to look ahead and that where we are today reflects past choices and decisions. I also know that the decisions and choices we make in the present will determine results in the future. 

However, there is something precious and valuable in participating in the present moment and embracing all that it holds, rather than wishing our lives away. 

What would happen if we made a conscious determination to accept the present moment not as a stepping-stone for some future glory but to enjoy it as a gracious gift from God? The Psalmist writes, “This is the day the Lord as made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (118:24) OR, as The Message renders it, “This is the very day God acted—let’s celebrate and be festive!”

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