Do Not Apologize
So, it is November. We turn the clocks back an hour this weekend. The weatherman said on the radio yesterday morning that the temperature should drop ten degrees in the next thirty days. November begins with an average of 51 degrees. December starts at 40 degrees. The leaves are falling quickly. I still have not turned the heat at my house, but I’m not sure how much longer I can hold out. Renée’s nose does get pretty cold. The other thing the start of November is for me is the day I start playing Christmas music! Lot’s of people don’t understand that. Trust me. I am not rushing the season. It’s the exact opposite. I am trying to enjoy the season.
You see, prior to going into the ministry, I worked for the Post Office, and every year, as soon as Halloween was over, my life became miserable. The crowds grew day by day, and before the advent (pardon the pun) of Fed Ex, and Amazon, we were the only game in town if you wanted to mail someone you love a Christmas gift. From the moment I opened my window until when I was able to close, it was busy. It would not stop until Christmas Eve about 4:00 pm. By that time people had given up on getting their package to its destination before Christmas. Sure, the workday flew by, as each day passed, my customers became more and more irritable, and by the time I got home I was completely exhausted.
As a result, I began to not enjoy the season. Even resent it a little. It was stressful and tiring. One year, I decided, you know what? I am not going to let the joy of my Christmas season be stolen from me. I’ll simply start earlier. Since that day, thirty years ago now, I began playing Christmas beginning November 01. I do love Thanksgiving, and as a congregationalist, I am all about the Pilgrims. They were the first Congregationalists to land in the New World in 1620. However, there is not a lot of Thanksgiving music. There’s the hymn “We Gather Together” (which I love) but that’s about it. And it is one day. We all eat until we have to unbutton our pants and then go watch football. Christmas is a season. We look forward with great anticipation to celebrating with friends and family. Visiting. Exchanging gifts. Enjoying Christmas cookies, breads, and other assorted traditional foods. Watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” together as a family.
Most importantly, we count down the days until He comes! No, not the fat man in the red suit, but our Lord Jesus. We can’t wait to celebrate with the angel as he proclaims (and Linus repeats) “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).
So, today, I lit my Balsam and Cedar Yankee Candle and am currently listening to “What Child is This?” Do not let anyone or anything steal your joy at this time of year either. Is there really such a thing as too much celebration of the coming of our salvation? We just recently read in the book of Esther that King Xerxes threw a party that lasted six months! Just because. So, go ahead. Play your Christmas music. Drink egg nog. Have some fruitcake. You do not have to apologize to anyone! We have good reason to rejoice! “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us…And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
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