In the movie The Christmas Story, one of the things I’ve noticed is that the Parker family puts up the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. When it’s all said and done, and the Old Man has finally cleared away the ozone and managed to get the tree lights burning, Ralphie and Randy are scuttled off to bed, anticipating the gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.
A Christmas tree decorated on Christmas Eve? Unheard of.
Because of the busy schedule at my house, there was a push to erect and decorate the Christmas tree sometime in early November. There were a myriad of reasons for doing so, and all of them had to do with our impending busy schedule, but I balked and told my wife, Michelle, that I needed time to get mentally prepared to begin the tree decorating process. Decorating the tree is a difficult circumstance, and I can’t just enter into that willy-nilly.
So, here I am, on December 4, and I’ve decorated the church for Christmas. But, in my house, there stands a fake, partially pre-lit Christmas tree with not an ornament to be found. And, the prospect of adorning the tree with decorations in the next few days does not look good. I may be on the naughty list soon.
Subconsciously, I may be protesting Christmas. Or, more accurately, I may be protesting the hustle and bustle of all that has become the Christmas season. I’m not Ebenezer Scrooge by any stretch, because I do like Christmas. I suppose, though, that I’ve grown tired of the misdirected observance of Christmas.
A few days ago, I wrote that we need to rediscover advent…to spend a season of expectancy that lands squarely on Christmas Day, celebrating the birth of Emmanuel – God with us. Like those who’ve gone before us, let’s long for the coming of Christ, the One who will make all things new.
In “Consider Skipping ‘Christmas Season’ This Year”, Daniel Montgomery and Bobby Gilles spell out the dangers of living like we’re not expecting Christ to return. And, they go on to suggest that we…
…celebrate the birth of Christ when our church fathers intended, during the 12 days between Christmas Day and Epiphany. But first, let Advent be Advent. In doing so, your Christmas celebration will be even more joyous.
To celebrate Christmas the way our “church fathers intended” would be like turning a battleship – it’ll take some time. But, I think the joy of Christ has come, Christ will come again will be well worth the effort.