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Friday, November 20, 2009

Rethinking the Christmas Craze

Repost from Dec 2008. And, of course, don't forget the upcoming Advent Carnival!

Sometimes I get irritated with the mad push for Christmas.

This past summer I noticed a local craft store with their Holiday displays out in full array in JULY. Yes. July. The local Christian radio station started playing Christmas music two weeks ago. The city decorations have begun to appear. I've even seen a Christmas tree twinkling from behind a neighbor's curtains.

Why can’t we wait for the holiday to arrive before we celebrate it?

This is a bit of a cliché gripe, I know. Everyone loves complaining about how early the Christmas rush begins. I love complaining about it, too. It is an easy shot to take and does make me feel a bit "superior". But there is something truly symptomatic in it, isn't there?

All this craziness seems to me to reflect the spiritual state of our culture. Despite what we may hear and read, I believe the Christmas Craze is evidence of the desire for spiritual fulfillment for believer and non-believer alike: the coming of the Savior. We are anxious for the future: both near (Christmas) and distant (Second Coming). It is so tempting to begin the celebrations early! This is not an altogether bad desire – it reveals the Christian's hope. However, it does become a distraction when it overshadows the work that must be done before both those long-awaited days of the Savior's appearance. Both of these events require seasons of preparation – Advent. To skip these might leave us unready to fully welcome the Savior.

In the past, I’ve found myself trying so hard to avoid all Christmas celebrations until Christmas was really here. I was determined to observe a good Advent season. Our culture makes this almost impossible – and in fact it was for me. But, now I’m not sure this is really necessary or preferable. I still maintain that a thoughtful Advent observance heightens the celebration of Christmas; however, Advent can be enhanced by appreciating a taste of the joy awaiting us. It awakens our hearts a bit and makes them yearn even more for the end of Advent, both the seasonal and the eternal!

My family will continue our usual Advent traditions, maintaining our focus on this season of preparation. However, we’ll also enjoy those moments of festivity knowing that the full celebration is yet to come and allowing the yearning for that celebration to grow! And instead of griping about the premature and over-the-top Christmas celebrations, I’m going to focus on being thankful for this proof of the desires deep in the hearts of us all.


Amy said...

This is just what I was going to write about this Advent! I still may :-)

Amy said...

Enjoyed the post again this year! Don't know if you read O Night Divine ( during advent but she had a great post on trying to listen to Advent music instead of Christmas music. I'm creating my playlist at Youtube!
Thanks for the encouragement!

Kerry said...

Amy (#1) - I do hope you will! I'll be reading your blog to see that post!

Amy (#2) - I have just begun reading O Night Divine - although I think I've stumbled on it before, it looks familiar. One year in the past I found an online "radio station" that had Anglican seasonal music! Live365. I haven't look for it this year, but I might. Would you share a playlist on YouTube when you are done?!? I'd love to have that!!

Juanita said...

I put together an Advent-ish playlist two years ago. It is at this post:

Amy said...

Yeah! Thank you Juanita!

Amy said...

I created my own playlist:

I can't wait for advent now!!

Amy said...

Thanks for the play lists ladies!