Every year it seems Christmas creeps earlier and earlier. And for the past several years, I would bemoan the early enticement of sales and decorated trees. I refused to listen to the music until Santa rolled through the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. For me, that was the official start of the holiday season, followed shortly thereafter by the start of Advent at which point we would really get into the Christmas spirit.
But this year, when almost a full week ago now I heard a local radio station had already switched to playing continuous Christmas music, I didn’t change the channel. In fact, I didn’t even reach for the dial. I just let it play.
Why the change? Maybe seeing the Christmas displays in all the stores builds the excitement. Maybe it’s the six inches of snow that has covered the ground and the subzero temperatures forcing us to break out the winter clothing, extra blankets, and delicious hot cocoa (not to mention snow shovels) earlier than usual. Maybe it really is that Christmas music that did me in.
I think the biggest reason is that my heart is ready for Christmas. More than that, it needs Christmas. Truly, we all need Christmas. Sure the early start to the season is brought on largely by the materialistic side of Christmas. But whatever the underlying motive, is there ever such a thing as too much Christmas spirit? That spirit of joy, excitement, and hope! The spirit of giving, of sharing, of love. Is it ever possible to get excited about the celebration of the birth of our Lord too early?
I don’t think so.
Even as we begin the celebration of Advent in a few weeks, I believe that our time of waiting does not have to be a somber one. It should be filled with excitement! With hope and joy and love. We are not waiting in darkness, but in the light! We know what it is we are waiting to celebrate. We know that God came to us that night in Bethlehem in the most precious and wondrous way as the baby Jesus. And we know that He will come again.
I don’t have Christmas decorations up yet. I haven’t started watching my favorite Christmas movies or baking cookies. But I have enjoyed looking at Christmas decorations, shopping for loved ones, and, yes, listening to Christmas music (and even singing along!) There’s something about Christmas music that instantly cheers you up. The lyrics tell stories of love, of family, of the Lord. Even the goofy songs make you smile when you hear them. Hearing my favorite Christmas songs again reminds me of the immense joy that fills the Christmas season. And why should that joy be confined to only one month?
Despite the fact that Christmas is still over a month away, I will confess that I am in the Christmas spirit. Shouldn’t we all be? The Christmas spirit is one that we should be carrying in our hearts year round. Even if we wait to outwardly celebrate the Christmas season, that spirit of love, happiness, and hope should be with us no matter what the season. So even though it is early, I think we all need a little Christmas. And I am going to let that joyous Christmas music continue to play.