I have finally come to grips with something that has taken me seven years to grasp – Christmas comes early in our house. It has to since Stephen is the choir director. He has to “get into the mood” so that we can plan the cantata every year. And since I have grasped this truth, I have learned a few things from it.
Thing 1: We keep Christmas in a box.
It’s true and I have done it my whole life. We have parameters for when Christmas starts and ends. We are sickened when we see Christmas merchandise out right after school starts. Christmas music and movies cannot be listened to before Thanksgiving. And the tree? Gone by the first week of the new year.
Why do we do that? Isn’t Christ’s birth central to our salvation? Shouldn’t it, then, be central to our lives and not confined to one month of the year? Shouldn’t the spirit behind Christmas and Easter permeate our being all year. I know Christmas has become highly commercialized, but to Christians we shouldn’t let that bother us. We can rejoice a little that it does become a big celebration, as it should be! Non-believers are not going to appreciate Christmas as we do… or ought to.
Thing 2: We do not prepare for Christmas properly.
I don’t know about you, but it kinda sneaks up on me. This year, I have been reading already and preparing my heart to celebrate this season in the hope that I will treasure and savor it more. Gift buying is great and shows us how God gave us the gift of His Son. If you are good at buying well in advance, that’s great! But I am going beyond having your cookies baked and frozen in November. We need heart preparation. We need to dwell on Christ’s birth and its different aspects. It ought to convict and change us so that spirit of “goodwill toward men” lasts all year.
Thing 3: The highlight of Christmas is usually the day itself and not the Savior.
It is human nature to be excited about receiving things, and I do not want to take that away from anyone. But I must ask, do we look forward to the presents most, or to aspects where we get to celebrate Christ’s birth? Do we look forward to Christmas programs, caroling and other ways to celebrate through service, or are they just forms of “token worship” that we perform to show others that we took time to think about Christ. Is it something we do because we are supposed to or because we want to? I had to ask myself these questions, and I didn’t like how I answered them…
So I have made a conscious decision this year to celebrate our Savior’s birth early this year… in my heart. Where it counts. It has been a blessing to me so far… Will you join me?