It's here...the Christmas season has arrived. I don't know how it managed to barrel in so fast, but it's all around us now. The stores have had trees lit, decorations on display and Christmas music playing since the Halloween things were taken out. A few of the neighbors have had some of their outside lights and wreaths up since mid-December.
However, for me, it's too early if all this begins before mid-December. I like to enjoy the anticipation, but then I like to have it linger 'til at least mid-January too. Most of the people we know dismantle the decorations the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.
I tend to purchase gifts all year long, and I'm usually finished with the buying in October...giving me time for wrapping, for making my Christmas cards and getting those out in the mail within a reasonable time. Then, around the middle of December we drag out all of the ornaments and garlands and lights and greenery. Since we still cling to our old tradition of a real, and fragrant, cut evergreen tree, it can't be placed in the house too early, as can the artificial ones.
Artificial...hmmm. It has suddenly occured to me that most things about Christmas these days are somewhat artificial. Yes, the trees, the garlands, the lights which used to be candles. Some of that is for safety reasons, of course. But...today's views of Christmas tend to be out of whack, in my opinion. It seems to be all about what to buy, how to meet the financial strains, giving out of obligation, rather than a truly giving heart. And...what about the REAL reason for the season... the birth of Christ, the God-man who came to bring salvation and love to a world lost in its own way? When I look around and see what happens at Christmas, I feel that many of us are still lost in our own way.
It would be so nice to hear "Blessed Christmas" and know that the words mean what they say. It would be wonderful to lay aside the day where we would really focus on the gifts that God gave to us on that very first Christmas night. It would be so different if we sacrificed the spending for presents, and chose, instead, to dream up real gifts of giving: time, services, talents. I think it would seem more like a true Christmas season if everyone did that.
Please don't misunderstand. I enjoy Christmas, all aspects of it...the lights, the smells, the busy days, the thinking of what to give or buy for someone. I enjoy it, yes, I do. But the best part of it all for me is a candlelight service at church, totally devoted to the holiness, the mystery, the wonder of the true Christmas story. The hymns with words that tell of the coming of the promised Savior, the songs that proclaim, as the angels did, "Glory to God in the Highest. Peace and Good Will to men".
There are some who would disagree with some of my thoughts here, and they are free to do so. This is my blog of my thoughts and opinions, and certainly, I give my reading audience the right to have their own views. After all, it is the season of giving!