Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my family finally found a few days to get away and take a mini-vacation. We decided to load up and travel down to Orlando. We’ve always been thrill seekers and usually find some type of thrilling activity that will raise our heart rates. This year it was roller coasters and high-speed go cart racing for Amy, Cole, Jacob and me. There is still ongoing bickering who was the fastest cart driver in the family. Cole believes he took top honors. I let him win. Not really, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

On Thursday and Friday we enjoyed the thrills of Orlando and even found a few of our favorite eateries that were open. I believe we will all need to find the low carb, high exercise diet this week.

On Friday evening, Amy talked the boys and me into going to some outlet shops to look for a few Christmas items. Begrudgingly, the boys and I agreed.

I should’ve known better when we went to enter the place and the traffic was lined up bumper to bumper. Parking was a nightmare. We finally entered a parking garage/deck and it was bumper to bumper to even find a spot to park in the garage. We finally found a spot and walked to the shopping area. There were two specific stores on the list (thank goodness it was only two).

As we passed by other stores, I noticed there were waiting lines outside of some of the stores just to get the opportunity to enter. I thought to myself, this is crazy. I’m not sure there is anything important enough to me or my family that would warrant waiting in line just to get in a store. What if you waited in line, finally get in the store and then discover the item you want is out of stock?

We finally arrived at one of the stores on our list, an athletic apparel/shoe store. Luckily, or so I thought, there was no waiting line outside. However, once inside I thought very differently. It was a mad house. Shoppers were on every aisle, rudely bumping into us, trying to find that so-called special deal. I guess I have never truly experienced Black Friday shopping. Not sure I ever want to experience it again.

My wife and son did find a pair of tennis shoes, but one glance at the checkout line and that pair quickly found its way back to the shelf. The line probably had 100 people wrapped halfway around the building. I believe I could have made him a pair of shoes by the time they got to the register to pay.

As we exited the building, I looked at Cole and Jacob and asked them if this is what we’ve made Christmas become as a society? They both understood what I was talking about immediately. The facial expressions of the people shopping told the story. People were miserable. The love part of Christmas was lost in the commercialism.

Rudeness was at an amplified level among the shoppers. I believe that we don’t realize how fortunate we are to live in South Georgia, where people, for the most part, treat each other with respect and kindness. Travel outside our bubble and you will understand how fortunate.

Folks, could we consider doing things a little different this holiday season? First, let’s remember what we are actually celebrating. We are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His love for us. Second, let’s treat each other with respect, kindness and love. This is an area I have to work at constantly in my life.

I believe Jesus said it best when asked what are the two greatest commandments. He replied,  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Can you imagine the change that would happen if we adopted these commandments in all aspects of our lives?