It may be the first of December, but it just does not seem like the Christmas season yet.
The early commercialization of the season -- including Christmas decorations up in some stores before Halloween -- hasn't seemed to help. Some friends even put up their Christmas decor before the debut of the fourth Twilight film, a full week before Thanksgiving.
Snow is associated with Christmas in northwest Iowa and, after back-to-back October snows, the white stuff has yet to stick at all this year. Yes, its absence is convenient for commuting and outdoor activities, but it does little to foster the Christmas spirit.
But, what exactly is the "Christmas spirit," anyway?
Clearly, that means different things to different people, hence the "Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays" debate.
For Christians, it's the Season of Advent, or celebration of the coming of Christ himself.
It's pretty crazy to think the Son of God came to earth to be a human, associate with humans and ultimately allow himself to be killed by humans. But, Christians believe he did that to conquer sin and death, and the fear thereof.
The fear of death is pervasive in society as people generally do not like to talk about death, and instead either quietly dread it or vocally deny it and "live life to the fullest."
As the Advent Season was kicked off Thanksgiving weekend, one Spencer pastor advised his congregation, "Don't put off what really matters."
Those who celebrate Advent should be empowered to live life without fear of death, without fear of judgement and with the ability to overcome the temptations society poses.
Especially as the season intensifies and becomes busier, it becomes increasingly important to remember the things in life that are truly important and protect each priority.
Doing so is the key to truly celebrating this season.