The sanctuary and creche at Saint Anthony Friary
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means “God with us.” – Matthew 1:23 (NIV)
I was a little upset this week when CBS preempted my favorite show to air “Rudolph.”
It wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet (although the Hallmark channel has been airing Christmas movies since November 1). I wasn’t thinking Thanksgiving or Christmas. I was thinking NCIS and Ziva’s replacement and if she’d be as funny and goofy and smart as she was last week. And if Abby would warm up to her.
I was in my jammies on the loveseat when the announcement came on at 8 p.m. “NCIS will return at its regular time next week.” Talk about deflated excitement.
I grumbled about it on Facebook the next day. Some of my Facebook friends agreed with me. Others were aghast at my lack of Christmas spirit. Sorry, but I just can’t get excited about Rudolph when it’s not even Thanksgiving. Besides, I’ll take Mark Harmon over Burl Ives any day.
I remember the excitement of Christmastime when I was a child. We didn’t put up the decorations until shortly before Christmas, and we didn’t go all out. Just a few lights around the front room window and a Christmas tree. My carpenter dad crafted a wooden stable complete with a white plastic star that hovered over the roof, thanks to a thin wire wrapped in aluminum foil. My mother purchased painted figurines to complete the Nativity set. I still have both the stable and the figurines, which I put up every year in the dining room.
I also put out the white plastic church that plays “Silent Night.” The gold cross that once topped the steeple is gone, and one of the plastic stained glass windows fell in. And it’s not exactly white, more like “antique yellow.”
Truth be told, I get more nostalgic about the decorations every year. There’s a memory with every one.
There’s just the two of us now. I miss the kids and hiding presents (which they tell me now they always found) and baking cookies and . . . well, you know. It’s just not the same without children in the house.
So it’s easier to be a Grinch than to be remembering and missing.
But I need to remind myself of what Christmas is REALLY about: Emmanuel, the Word become flesh who dwelt among us for a short time. Christmas is about hope: Hope for peace on earth. Hope for good will among men. Hope that even though the world around us goes kerflooey, we don’t have to because we know there’s a day coming when all will be made right.
Maybe Hallmark has the right idea to start its “Countdown to Christmas” at the beginning of November. Maybe it’s not so bad to put out Christmas displays right after Halloween. You see, by doing that, we’re extending “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
I just wish we could celebrate Christmas every day of the year.
See? I’m not such a Grinch after all.
When I get to missing what I once had, remind me, Lord, that Christmas is what gives me a future. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Matthew 1:18–25