Prayer is Not Seasonal

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Commercials tell us that it is time for families to gather around the Christmas tree and the television. Jingle the bells. Add snow to the background. Cue smiling families, dressed alternately in red and green, making snowmen and snowballs. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

These advertisements also want us to believe that it is time to shop So, we review our Christmas lists like football plays. Family members are assigned to particular stores to score the best deals. And we have sworn an oath to protect and defend our right to a 100-inch television. We grab a cart and try not to run over anyone.

Christmas carols paired with consumerism, our shopping carts should not be confused with his manger.

Retailers started sales before Black Friday, calling it “Gray November.” There were going to be more deals, but there is always a better deal. It is the rhythm of commercialism. With sales for every holiday, it’s always time to shop. Because I need to purchase a new mattress or a new car during this or that holiday weekend. “Tis the season?”

But, Christmas is more than a season. It is not a part of the list provided in Ecclesiastes. (I checked.) Perhaps, because our lives should be an expression of gratitude as the birth of Christ impacts us on days and in ways not limited to the month of December.

Thus, our conversations with God should not come in mad dashes when the doors of the church open. For there is more than enough of the divine presence to go around, and God will be there—and where ever we find ourselves today, tomorrow, and the next. There will never be a shortage here. So we need not load Christ’s manger for fear that there will be a scarcity of this or that. Besides, God cannot be consumed.

Instead, let’s talk it through in prayer, which is not a holiday splurge observed only on Sunday. God is not working on other matters throughout the week and taking appointments with those who make it to their pews on time. These rows of seats are not the only fertile ground for conversations to grow, develop, and produce. And the time of harvest is not limited to 11 a.m.

Prayer is not seasonal and thereby not confined to the “right” time or conditions. Prayer can happen anywhere and at any time, with or without our favorite music or the color coordination of our lives with the world’s social calendar. But, prayer takes time and it may take all our life’s time to realize that God is never busy or trying to beat the clock. So, it is always time to pray.

Reverend Starlette Thomas* is an associate pastor at Village Baptist Church in Bowie, Maryland and the Minister to Empower Congregations at the D.C. Baptist Convention. She writes on the social construct of race and the practice of faith at www.racelessgospel.com. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and Starbucks.

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