Christmas Already?????

Last week at an end-of-season volleyball social, my friend leaned over and said to me, “Do you know 93.3 is playing Christmas music nonstop already?”

“What!?” I exclaimed.  “Now I love Christmas, but that seems excessive!” Then I told her how as I had driven to the event I had seen a Christmas tree in the window of one of the houses that lines the main street near our neighborhood.

When my parents were young, scarcely a generation ago, the Christmas tree didn’t get put up until Christmas Eve! Now here we are with a tree up in early November? And Christmas crooners on the local radio station?

I have to wonder where it’s coming from—this push to celebrate Christmas earlier and earlier.

The quick answer I often get when I comment on the tendency to celebrate earlier and earlier, is “Commercialism! Western Capitalism at its best—sell, sell, sell! Enticing consumers to want more, buy more, and throw away more!” I can see that as a potential cause, but doesn’t it seem a bit jaded and even simplistic to conclude that’s all there is too it?

Couldn’t there be more to this than just a bid for extra shopping time and more selling of product to the anxious consumer?

I guess the reason I ask this question, is because I celebrate Christmas in little ways all year long; every 25th of every month, we do something in our home to remind ourselves that Christmas is coming. We have pumpkin pie, give goodies to a neighbor, make fudge and watch a Christmas movie, or give little gifts to one another. For us it has nothing to do with commercialism or a capitalist venture; rather, we do it because it reminds us of something special, something significant, something worth waiting for. We do it to build anticipation and enjoy a little bit of the celebration even before the appointed time—kind of like sneaking a bite of the cookie dough before the cookies are baked.

So I wonder if as a society, we stretch the limits of our holiday celebrations because we are so desperate for something to look forward to. For something good, and fun, and promising. Could it be that the tiny voice inside of each of us is whispering that God has made us for so much more than the rat race, so much more than the mundane, so much more than the daily grind? It might just be that God’s promise is calling us, beckoning us to a celebration beyond our wildest dreams. We hear it from a distance and we long for it, but we get caught up in the trappings of our own ideas of what celebration is, and dragged down by the futility of one more societal demand.

Instead, maybe we should allow the anticipation to draw us to His promises, and let His presence among us fuel our hope. Then celebrating early or any time, becomes appropriate and beautiful. It fills us up instead of draining us. It turns our hearts toward the rhythm  of his loving, gracious Gift. Because celebrating early—or any time—is really always just a tiny taste of the immeasurable glory to come.

So my advice: Celebrate early and often…because He is worth celebrating and what he has in store for us is worth anticipating!

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