When I was a kid, the Christmas Season didn’t start until Thanxgiving, particularly the Friday after. Perhaps that was just my very subjective experience, but that’s how it worked to my recollection. It didn’t last long like that, but it seemed like it did, and that’s how I remember it.
My baby sister’s birthday fell in the first week of December, and Mom always put up our Christmas tree the day after that. She normally pulled our tree down the day after Christmas, but sometimes on New Year’s Day. Thus we had a maximum of 3 weeks worth of Christmas decorations at our house, and as I recall it felt like an eternity with all the anticipation of blessings to come. Childhood magic, I am sure.
The tree would go up, and in a day or two a wrapped gift would almost magically appear under it. Then another day or two it would be joined by another and then another. They kept piling up under and behind the tree until the last possible moment. And as a 6 or 7 year old, I thought Christmas would never finally arrive!
Christmas traditions are important, to be sure, but they change with time. Such is natural, and actually expected.
By the time I was a teenager, I began to notice that Christmas decorations on Main Street or at the mall were going up sooner than they did at our house, and they stayed up longer too. But I had got wise to Santa Claus, and a lot of that magic was gone. But then I remember the Christmas my eighth grade year when the day after Christmas Day my dad took us kids to the mall when the REAL SALE happened, and he was feeling generous with all the deals! I suddenly started finding magic in the Day After!
Now days, I think seriously about dressing up for Halloween as a Christmas Tree! Seriously. I was watching TV three nights ago and saw a Christmas sale advertisement and knew that we were now in the Season whether official or not. Traditions are good, but they do change over time.
I have started wishing people “Happy Holidays” in October!
No doubt the silly season is upon us, and so is the cold. This is a terribly cold and lonely time of year to live on the streets. I’m taking this opportunity to ask my readers to consider sharing your home, your table, your family, and your festivities with someone you know from the streets. Even if you take them back to the corner where you found them when its all done, take them in for a few hours.
That poor, needy person out there is Jesus (Matt. 25:31-46). Christmas is about celebrating HIM. How about we sing Joy To The World with our very, merry lives this year and let every heart prepare him room.
I wonder if you won’t find serendipity to put to shame the magic of Christmas from your youth.
(Heb. 13:2 anyone???)