Monday, November 5, 2012

The Holiday Marathon

As we were driving home last night from dinner, I noticed something I hadn't seen in quite a while. It was the twinkling of Christmas lights that the door to a bank was so beautifully donning. I sat in the car in slight disbelief, as Halloween just passed only a few days ago. I love the Christmas season, but perhaps it is still a little bit too early to decorate for Christmas. We haven't even had the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving yet! I say this, being a firm believer in decorating for Christmas much before Christmas.

I still remember the very first Thanksgiving my husband spent with my family. The day after we all had stuffed ourselves with turkey we sat around the living room talking. I stood up and announced that I wanted to put the (fake) Christmas tree up. I was looking for volunteers to help me out! My husband sat there, shocked. I think he was seriously offended that I would instigate decorating for Christmas so early. He didn't expect that kind of behavior from me. He insisted that decorating that early made Christmas commercial, and took away the real meaning of Christmas. He explained that his family put up the Christmas tree MAYBE one week before the holiday. I couldn't comprehend why someone would want to wait that long.

This is a conflict that often many Christians face. Does it take away from the meaning of Christmas to decorate for Christmas so early? I am convinced that the real answer is: it depends. If it gets a family in the mood to only talk about presents and thinks about all the things they hope to receive Christmas morning, then yes it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas. But I still maintain that decorating (even a month) early can be a good thing.

After thinking about this dilemma a little too long, I have come to decide that decorating early can help a person prepare for baby Jesus to come and it can help a person become enthusiastic about spreading the meaning of Jesus' love. I know it gets me in the spirit of giving!

I once read this scenario:

If a you were to receive news that the king and queen of England were coming to stay in your house, you wouldn't wait until the last minute to scramble together some resemblance of hospitality. Most people would begin planning a menu, cleaning the house and making sure everything looked its best. There is no reason that the coming of Jesus, the greatest King of all time, needs to be any different. 

Now, I try to taper my excitement for Christmas at least until the first of December. Then I break out the advent wreath and petition my husband to agree to go get a tree. I make lists of carefully chosen items that I want to purchase as gifts for the ones I love. My mind often wanders to ways I can help others out. My excitement over flows when I get to fill my daughter's shoes with goodies on St. Nicholas Day. This year I am entertaining the idea of a Jesse tree. Mentally and spiritually I prepare myself for this amazing story that is the birth of God! And I also find the legend of Santa a fun one.

Both my husband and I now are better able to see that different people do things differently, and neither way is necessarily wrong. I like to show my enthusiasm for the birth of Jesus outwardly with decorations, as it helps me prepare. Still others find it easier to mentally and spiritually prepare for Christmas with out the distraction of decorations.

When does your family begin decorating for Christmas? How do you help keep your focus on the true meaning of Christmas?


  1. I. Love. This. Post. Seriously! I love your explanation of how we would prepare for a special visitor in our home, and really, is there a more special visitor than Jesus? And I am exactly the same as you! I too make lists for loved ones and carefully decide on gifts for them. ( I HATE shopping. Seriously.) So list in hand, my husband find joy in picking out the perfect gift for each special family or friend on our list. No crazy Black Friday 4 A.M. shopping for this gal!

    We too decorate early. In fact the weekend after Thanksgiving, we begin to adorn our home with all things Christmas. For me, it is about taking the time to do it early, then we sit back and relax and enjoy the season as the time for Jesus' birth draws near. I always strive for being done with EVERYTHING by December 17, so that last week is filled with fun, and wonder, and anticipation, rather than chaos!
    And Santa!? Yes, we love him! Santa is fun, and jolly, and in my opinion, a wonderful part of childhood, which in itself is way too fleeting.If introduced properly, Santa does not need to compete with Baby Jesus, rather work with Him to show the true spirit of giving and love.
    And I apologize for all my long comments! I just have alot to say! : )

  2. I like celebrating Christmas for a while, too. It's a special season and really the time that our family is closest to Christ. (My husband is a Christmas/Easter Lutheran.) I love Advent calendars with Bible verses as a way to remember Jesus' birth through all the holiday chaos.