This week my home town welcomed our first snow fall of the season.
As the huge flakes rapidly fell in what one could accurately call a downpour, I found myself giggling like a kid. I watched as our landscape lights lit each puffy flake from below. As if in a spotlight, they rightly took their place centerstage.
It seemed the more snow that fell the quieter the world became, save for a song dancing loudly through my mind.
It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.
Everywhere You Go.
Yes, I know it’s November and yes, I’m one of those people.
And no, I’m not sorry.
It’s not that I want to rush Fall away or gloss over Thanksgiving. I believe in all things gratitude and am a huge fan of most things pumpkin spice. (Except for those candles. Man are they strong!)
It’s just that Christmas holds an extra special place in my heart.
Of course, for all the obvious reasons. Peace on Earth. Good will to men.
And at the top of my list, the real Reason for the Season. (No need to send me notes. I know it’s not His “actual” birthday.)
But a huge part of my eagerness to jump into all things Christmas is because it evokes in me a rare, joyful sense of childhood.
Christmas was a time of year when my mom would stay sober for most of the season.
It was also a time when my parents, divorced and normally keenly adept at using me against one another, would call a truce.
In fact, they would even giggle together as they plotted who was going to do to what with me over the holiday and school break.
As I grew into a young adolescent, Christmas became a safe haven from what went on in my life the rest of the year.
And as an adult, Christmas became a time when I noticed people were a bit nicer. When people would show their best side. Thinking of others first. Love their fellow man and all that heart-warming jazz.
It became a time of year when we all had a little Hallmark Movie Christmas in us.
When faith in Someone greater seemed more possible.
Perhaps even more desirable.
For over a decade now, Christmas has become a time of year to pay even closer attention to what God is putting in front of me. Where He is asking me to step in and be His hands and feet.
Each year without fail, I see Him pull off some sort of miracle.
Big or small, He makes His presence known and the magic of Christmas all the more believable.
Still, in the past few years, I’ve seen and heard an increased amount of complaints about "early Christmasers" like me.
While the complaining is mostly tongue in cheek, good natured jabbing, it makes itself clearly known in places like social media feeds and even in conversation.
I realize this may be fueled by the stores ulterior motive for early Christmas décor. Buy early. Buy often.
But what if we used their marketing ploys to our advantage?
What if we took back Christmas? I think in many ways, we’re long overdue for such a movement.
Because I’ve noticed something else in the past few years. There is a palpable ramping up of the presence of darkness in our world. It’s virtually impossible to avoid seeing or hearing about it on a daily basis.
But with it, I’m also seeing an intensifying of a movement to bring more light and love to this world.
While the darkness wins some battles, if you’re really paying attention, Light is pushing it back in many ways too.
So, what if this year, instead of griping about the early decorations, the lights and carols, we use them as a way to rekindle some of that childhood Christmas joy in each of us.
Or perhaps find it for the very first time.
What if we use it as a motivation; a call to arms, to step up our ‘giving is better than receiving’ game?
What if we use the bright lights and festive reminders as our own personal reminder to bring light and love into the areas of this world we’re called to enter.
What if this Christmas Season, we started right now, recognizing the greatest gift we can give our loved ones and this needing world is our presence? It's never too early for that. Right?
Here's an example of what I mean.
There’s this great movement underway. It has been for several years now. It’s called Advent Conspiracy. In fact, its even gone international (I strongly encourage you to look it up. You're welcome.).
AC's main idea has four tenets: love all, spend less, give more and worship fully.
I guess if you think about it, doing the first three will, in all likelihood, result in the fourth.
What a beautiful way to celebrate.
Replacing consumption with compassion.
So what if, instead of looking at all the early Christmas décor in the stores as a marketing conspiracy, we use it as our visual reminder to join a different conspiracy?
Christmas may be something we only celebrate in December, but it can be a spirit that we hold throughout the year.