As I took my boys shopping yesterday for some cooler weather clothes that would actually cover their skin, three days before November, I was bombarded with images of Christmas. Actually, the holiday to celebrate Christ's birth has been so commercialized that I don't think it appropriate to call it Christmas anymore. You could go with X-Mas, but X in Latin represents Christ so in the end, I guess we're just left with "Mas" which could easily translate to mess. Is that too cynical? I think, as a society, we're just going back to our pagan roots where the big holiday celebration was the Winter Solstice. It's actually the reason we, as Christians, celebrate Christ's birth on December 25. The early church was trying to counter paganism with big holiday celebrations of its own. How ironic that over 1000 years later we would be in the same position as the early church leaders.
Over the past few years, our family has tried to take some different approaches to the winter holidays to bring it back to Christmas. We've done alternative gift giving, taken a family vacation in lieu of a big holiday celebration, and engaged in Advent studies. Last December, my husband and I took a trip to the mall in mid-December and came to the realization that we were the only seemingly happy people to be found in the place, all because we had absolutely no gifts to buy!! It was beautiful, and I think we were able to truly enjoy the season.
This year, I've decided to embark on a new bring back the true holiday quest. I am going to make a public pledge to not turn myself in any way toward Christmas until at least December 1st. No decorating, no carols (except in cantata practice), no gift planning or purchasing, no decoration purchasing, no Christmas card purchasing, no holiday baking or prepping for holiday baking until at least December 1st! I am going to fully appreciate the season of Fall and celebrate Thanksgiving without looking forward to the next big event. I am going to take my time and truly enter into a season of Advent so that I may fully appreciate the gift of Christ into a world of so much need. Heck, maybe we'll be true traditionalists this year and not celebrate Christmas until Christmas, and then enter the 12 days of Christmas and celebrate Epiphany. Okay, that might just be crazy talk. :-) But you get the point.
My question now is, are you up for the pledge? Can you leave "Mas" to the masses in order to focus on the Christ in the midst of it? Will you pledge with me to restrain from the season until at least December 1st?
Blessings and Peace,