It’s over. My family made it through the criticism, the sneers, the rejection, the envy and an assortment of other emotionally charged gestures and opinions. Yes, we are that family who decorates for Christmas on the first weekend in November….. and we can now finally breathe a sigh of relief and fully enjoy publicly what we had secretly been enjoying for weeks.
Every year, as soon as Halloween is over, my husband begins the routine of decorating for Christmas. It is a quiet thing that we do…. no photos on Facebook, no talk in conversations to our peers, we just get out the decorations from the attic and begin putting them in their place. The inside is garbed first and then the outside gets its makeover. In fact, my husband is always full of surprises for as I was spending a late evening at the office and doing the basketball practice routine with our daughter, my husband had worked his way from the indoor decorations to the outside while I was gone. When we turned the corner into our cul-de-sac, my daughter and I both said, “Whoa!”………As the Hallelujah Chorus rang throughout the neighborhood, we were blinded by the bright lights on our house. Okay, the Hallelujah Chorus thing didn’t actually happen and we weren’t truly blinded, but we were certainly the Griswold family in our own minds. It was an amazing sight and also the signal that our household was Christmas decor complete.
Maybe you can picture how it looks….Beginning with the Hallelujah chorus approach from the street, you move through our well lit icicle guttering and step into a fully decorated house with a lighted tree (actually three trees now that I think about it), evergreen scented candles, a fireplace setting with a cozy Santa chair (aka Blue’s Clues Thinking Chair) and Christmas paraphernalia pretty much everywhere. Oh, and of course, the Christmas music playing in the background….
Now, we know we aren’t alone in our decoration timing, we see it more and more each year, but we also know that there are many who do not understand why we “skip” or “forget about” Thanksgiving. But that’s exactly what we don’t do…. We are thankful… very thankful… We are thankful for Christ, thankful for his birth, thankful for the grace, peace and hope he gives, thankful, thankful, thankful and we don’t want to celebrate just for a little while….we want to make the most of it. We want to prolong the feelings of good will, friendliness, peace, happiness and care for others that we see during the season…. So take our cozy, glowing, spirit-filled house, add the aroma of turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie, other Thanksgiving feast goodies and a dash of evergreen and you have Thanksmas. That would be Latin-ish for a mass of thanks.
Okay, now that season of peace, kindness, love, joy, hope, giving, thankfulness that I mentioned…. yes, I realize that all of those things aren’t always so evident, but we do tend to see more of it during this season than any other time. Maybe its the music, maybe the brightly (or blindingly) lit homes, maybe its the scent of cookie and homemade goodies baking….. whatever it is, we see families gather, co-workers and bosses celebrating together, thankful lists, people giving their money to help others, people letting others know how special they are through cards, gifts and time and more. But the reality is, when the turkey leftovers are gone, the decorations are put away, gifts exchanged and the perpetual strategy to get rid of the new ten pounds creep up on us, we tend to fall back into the same stressful busyness that entraps us until the next year. So why then is this season so different? I’m thinking maybe it boils down to one thing… EXPECTATIONS. Because it is expected of us, we step out of the everyday routine and encourage peace, thankfulness, hope, love and all of the other great things within the holiday season. There are no seasonal rules that we have to obey, no holiday laws to break… it’s just a given…. It’s what we do because it is that time of year.
Recently my “verse of the day” reminded me that according to Colossians 3:15 , if we are followers of Christ, we are expected to be that way not just the month of December (and for some, November) but all of the time. Can you imagine what it would look like if all followers of Christ lived by the expectations of allowing peace to rule our lives and always being thankful? I think we’d see no orphan without a home, no widow in need, no elderly forgotten, no one disabled who is neglected, no one homeless without hope or needed treatment, no one who is dying without care… people would be freed from addictions, their pasts, stereotypes, loneliness, poverty and hatred…. we’d hear encouragement, feel love, gain wisdom and experience grace… we’d rest well, worry less or even none at all…. we’d spend time being thankful for what we have rather than spending time trying to accumulate more things….. we’d know God better than we ever thought possible…
If we can live by expectations from a holiday perspective then I would think we can live with the expectation of carrying a peace like Christ, which would also be a piece of Christ, and then top it with thankfulness at all times…. Now that would be a complete Thanksmas! …The only thing then that would separate the celebration of Christ’s birth from the rest of the year would be the decorations…. in early November! 🙂
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.