The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. –Isaiah 9:2 NIV
For the past month, folks have been complaining that Halloween decorations aren’t even settled in their storage boxes when the Christmas lights are strung up, and Santa, Frosty and Rudolph, as well as Nativity scenes, appear on lawns and porches. Christmas merchandise fills the store shelves by November 1, the date the Hallmark Movie Channel begins its “Countdown to Christmas” movies. I’ve read rants on Facebook telling people to “Wake up! It’s only the beginning of November!”
I used to complain, too—mostly about the commercialization of a day that should be remembered and celebrated for the hope it brings humanity. I especially criticized the movies. This year, though, I’ve had a change of heart. Not about the commercialization—and I still say by the time Christmas comes I’ll be sick of the “save Santa, save Christmas” movies.
I’ve changed my perspective on putting out decorations early—whatever you want to call early, because, really, isn’t “early” relative? Early is whenever you think it’s too early.
Me, I don’t think putting out Christmas decorations in November is early. I would have had mine out, too, but DH has been busy preparing our place for winter. But now that Thanksgiving is past, I’m ready to deck the halls. The boxes and bins will come down from the attic, and by next weekend, my home will be adorned for Christmas.
Why the change of heart?
The Christmas season, like life, passes by much too quickly. It is, as the classic song goes, “the most wonderful time of the year.” Why not stretch it out? Savor each day of the season as it unfolds. The best part of the journey is the anticipation of arriving at our destination. The fun is in the preparation.
And do look at preparing for Christmas as fun, not a tedious chore or something you’re obligated to do. Have fun baking those cookies, signing those cards, wrapping those gifts. Inhale the joy. Let it expand into your being—into every fiber of your body, mind, heart, and soul.
Christmas isn’t about presents or decorations or food or get-togethers. Those things are all part of the celebration of the arrival of the most wonderful gift God gave mankind—His own Son, and with Him, the gift of hope.
The world may seem hopeless at times. Events—international, national, local, personal—may bring despair.
But during the Christmas season, we allow the Christmas lights, which symbolize the Light of the World, to cast out the darkness of despair, to replace it with the light of hope. When we stretch out the Christmas season, we’re extending a time of joy and hope and light and love.
So go ahead, put up those decorations as soon as you want to. Stretch out the most wonderful time of the year.
Thank you, Father, for the hope Christmas brings. Forgive us for our Grinch moments. Fill us with the spirit of the season. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read John 1:1–14