<p align="JUSTIFY"><strong>By Jonathan Wright<\/strong><\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">And now it begins\u2014in earnest.<\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">With Thanksgiving behind us, the shortest-possible Thanksgiving-to-Christmas period has begun (Thanksgiving came on the latest-possible date this year).<\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">I\u2019m no more ready for it than I ever am. It creeps up on me every year this way, mercilessly drawing closer and closer while I struggle with the multitude of distractions so much a part of my everyday life. And then, before I can take another breath, settle my mind, and take it all in\u2014it\u2019s over for another year.<\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">I know, I know\u2014we all need to proactively slow down and enjoy it while it\u2019s here. Agreed. We need to savor every bit of the Christmas season while it\u2019s still with us, drawing from its multitude of incomparable sensory experiences and heartwarming reunions of loved ones and friends.<\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">But let\u2019s face it: well over one month from today it will all be over for another year. Although the decorations will be slow to come down, as we remove the 2013 calendar and replace it with the 2014 one, at that point we clearly know that it\u2019s back to "normal" with the advent of a new year.<\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">If you\u2019re anywhere over the age of 20, you know as well as I do that every Christmas season seems to go by more quickly. I don\u2019t care if the stores start trotting out the Christmas decorations as early as August (and more and more of them do)\u2014every year it all zips past us more quickly than the year before.<\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">So hey\u2014think about it: there\u2019s an up side to this as well.<\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">The Christmas season isn\u2019t the only period that goes increasingly faster every year\u2014it\u2019s true of the entire year, of course.<\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">The maddening pace of working, paying bills, taking care of the kids, going to meetings, and focusing on endless responsibilities puts one\u2019s world in an almost constant whirl. Regardless of what stage of life you\u2019re in, unless you\u2019re fully retired (not just "retired" from one job and now working another one), this really is true for all of us.<\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">So in the midst of your crazy treadmill of life, rejoice. If you find yourself lamenting the passing of the holiday season as the progressing calendar leaves it behind in the dust, just remember: Christmas will be back before you know it.<\/p>\r\n<p align="JUSTIFY">The angels still want you to listen as they sing to you the wondrous news of a Savior who cares for you more than you could ever imagine, who wants to calm your heart and give you the most abundant life imaginable.<\/p>\r\nSounds kind of like year-round Christmas to me.