What Grinds my Gears: The Holidays

Halloween: I know what some of you are going to say: “Jared, it’s too late to talk about Halloween.” Well, it’s still too early to talk about Christmas. If people want to ignore the social convention of not skipping holidays, I should be allowed to talk about one that’s already happened. Anyways, Halloween night is a good night. You get to dress up and get free stuff from strange people you’ve never met before and will never see again. Halloween is a great night to get some exercise and hang out with some of your closest friends. So why are there people who insist on spending Halloween in their dorm rooms alone watching scary movies? It boggles my mind why some people insist on celebrating this night of harmless fun with friends by freaking themselves the flip out before bedtime. Even crazier than these people are those who want to watch scary movies, but don’t want them to be too scary. If you’re too scared to watch a scary movie, why have you decided to turn off all your lights, hide in your dorm room by yourself, and watch some R-rated blood fest? It’s not like watching a scary film is a rite of passage. You’re not going to wake up a braver person because you finally saw “Scream,” “Halloween,” or “Friday the 13th.”

Thanksgiving: It’s the week before finals. I’m getting down to the wire on all of my school work. Seems like a straight shot into taking those tests and then leaving until next semester, or at least it would be if not for Thanksgiving. What season is it even in anyways? I can’t say it’s in fall because there are no more leaves to come down. What do I even do on Thanksgiving? I head home with all my textbooks and study guides. I tell myself I’m going to devote a lot of my time to preparing for my finals, and do you know what I do? I sit on the couch, catch up on “Doctor Who,” watch “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” eat an exorbitant amount of food, and count the days until grandmas, papas, aunts and uncles show up to all ask me the same thing: “How’s school going?” You know, last I checked, school’s not going anywhere. I’m pretty sure it’s stayed right where I left it, and it will be right there when I get back.

Christmas: I think most of you are expecting something like this: commercialism has ruined the holidays. People go insane on Black Friday. Everyone’s forgotten the true spirit of Christmas. Well, I find it odd that stuff like this even bothers anyone. I anticipate the sudden hustle and bustle of my hometown’s shopping districts. I look forward to it. Besides, what compels someone to judge another based on how they celebrate a holiday? Don’t be the person in line at the store who’s thinking to themselves, “All of these people sure are acting pretty stupid by giving in to this commercialism. I sure am glad that I know the true meaning of Christmas. My life sure is straightened out.”

This Christmas: If you really do know the true meaning of Christmas, then show it. God came down from His eternal glory in order to live in our mess (our mess of long lunch lines, disorganized libraries, turtle instigators, and confusing campus events). If you are so moved by the good news of Immanuel, shouldn’t you extend some of His love to those you meet this season? To the other people in the store. To the bell ringers on the corner. To the employees working in retail. To your neighbors. To your family. John 13:35 reads, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV). Let’s all do our part. Let’s be the people He has called us to be, not just this Christmas, but all through the New Year. Let’s all show God’s love in everything we do, and try as best we can to keep from grinding everyone else’s gears.

Thanks for reading my column, and have a merry Christmas.

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