CHRISTMAS ISN’T OVER ON DECEMBER 25 — IT’S JUST BEGINNING!
Someone asked me today, “Why don’t we sing any Christmas carols during Advent?” It’s a reasonable question and the answer is, “Because we are observing Advent until Christmas begins at sundown on Christmas Eve.”
Advent gives people a structure in which to experience our own longings, just like Israel’s longings. It bring us to an expression of hope and faith that God is “with us.” “Emannuel” means “God with us.”
When Christmas does come, and we finally sing “Joy to the World” or “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” or “O Come All Ye Faithful” in worship, what a truly wondrous event that is! Rather than superficial in its immediacy, we have a deeper realization that there is reason to have faith and hope in God, that God comes to us through Christ, and that God will ”ransom captive Israel” once again!
In this way, the church can be countercultural by avoiding the commercialism of Christmas–and that’s a good thing. Listening to Christmas Carols all month long can be fun and very enjoyable–I have my favorite holiday CDs just like everyone else! But I can listen to them and sing along in my car or at home–or while shopping. Worship should be different–it should expect more of us, rather than be easy and light. Let Macy’s have their endless loops of recorded Christmas songs playing day-in and day-out for over a month at a time. I won’t sing “Happy Birthday” until the party comes. In this sense, the “party” doesn’t come until Christmas Day (well, OK, Christmas Eve!). And then we continue to celebrate for 12 wonderful days.
Let us never be guilty of contributing to anyone’s idea that they “are sick of Christmas”! Or at least that is my humble opinion.