It’s no secret that I would celebrate Christmas year-round if I could get away with it. There’s something about the shift in attitude, the expanded spirit of giving and the warm memories that I would like to start earlier and make last longer.
Many of my ministerial colleagues would frown on my habit of listening to Christmas carols beginning in October. You see, on the church calendar, the Christmas season doesn’t begin until Dec. 25. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day is Advent – a time to wait, to prepare, to anticipate. If we rush right to the Main Event, the thinking goes, then we might miss the opportunity to contemplate what is so exciting, so hopeful, so transforming about the coming of Emmanuel – “God with us.”
We can strike a balance between living into the Christmas spirit and waiting patiently for the birth of Christ. Doing so doesn’t mean that we are acquiescing to the secular, commercial aspects of the season, but rather that we desire to spread the transforming grace of that one day. We can expand Christmas Love in a world that gives us ISIS. We can live Christmas Peace in a world that gives us Ferguson. We can hold Christmas Hope in a world that gives us Ebola. We can find Christmas Joy in a world divided by violence and fear.
Let this season be the advent of something bigger, something better. May we see the world transform before our very eyes.
— In Christ’s Love, Pastor Gage