Christmas: Why It Should Wait

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I have never been shy about my love for Christmas; not just the day, but the whole season. It’s a magical, beautiful, stirring time given to draw us into the story of Christ’s coming.

In the past, I’ve been known to launch into Christmas music on November 1st. I once pondered if it was ok to start the tradition on October 25th, since it was a round 2 months prior to Christmas.

But I’ve recently had a change of heart. I’m now looking to wait for the Christmas season a bit longer, at least until the final Sunday in November.

Why the change of heart?

There are a few reasons.

The first is that I’m more interested in the church calendar than I previously was. Currently, we are in what is called “Ordinary Time,” a season extending from Pentecost until Advent. We also have this season from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday.

Yet, the beautiful season of Advent is quickly approaching – it commences this year on Sunday, November 27. The word – advent – simply means “arrival” or “coming.” For Christians, it’s a word that speaks of the arrival/coming of Christ into the world (it also refers to his second advent/coming at the end). We start the season of Advent on the 4th Sunday before Christmas and it runs through Christmas Eve.

I want to celebrate Christmas, very much so. But this also includes the waiting period we call Advent. And I want to celebrate it with God’s people, the community that is larger than I. I want to do so in reflection, contemplation, anticipation, hope and more.

I want to wait for Christmas to come.

I also believe that waiting for the Christmas season is a guard against consumerism. Consumerism is rampant across the United States of America. On November 1st, all stores shift from a colorful display of black and orange to that of red and green. Twice this week I’ve been to a well-known coffee-beverage seller and they already have their holiday cups, holiday blends and the jingles of the season playing. America has also created one of the most consumeristic days in the history of mankind – Black Friday. It is a beast of a day for retailers. It used to be crazy when these stores would open at 5:00 or 6:00am on the day after Thanksgiving, but now some stores open at midnight of Thanksgiving Day, while others are simply open on Thanksgiving.

We live in a society of consumerism beyond anything the rest of the world knows. Trust me.

And it’s no surprise that the church of modernist America has embraced the spiritual practice of consumerism itself. It’s very spiritual, as it calls to our whole selves. I’m just not sure it’s a healthy practice. The church has become predominantly product-based (for consumers who already have) rather than servant-based (emptying ourselves on behalf of others who do not have).

Listen, if you put up your tree, hang lights, shop at Amazon on Black Friday and participate in other such practices, am I condemning you? No, not really. But I hope I can challenge us to ponder the health of our cultural practices a bit more. I’m convinced we need to guard ourselves from consumerism. The church has always been called as an alternative community to what we see around us. Initially, Abraham was looking for that city and he wasn’t quite sure he saw it.

I’m not always sure we see it today either.

Lastly, I desire to wait until Advent begins because I want to practice waiting. Part of the consumerist culture is that we gratify ourselves whenever we want – from food to Netflix to shopping to sex to all sorts of “stuff.” To practice waiting, even a little bit of waiting, is important for us. We just don’t believe in waiting, or even abstaining from, any longer. It’s simply too old fashioned.

Christmas can wait.

We wait for autumn and spring to slowly roll in.

Christmas can wait.

We wait for the sun to peak its head or fall behind the horizon.

Christmas can wait.

We wait in line for our lattes and cold brews.

Christmas can wait.

Let’s practice waiting. And while we wait, let’s do so with hopeful anticipation that Christ is truly coming. He did then – after a painfully long wait – and he will arrive now.

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One thought on “Christmas: Why It Should Wait

  1. Thank you, Scott! I’ve been silently thinking the same in my own way. I’m now officially an empty nester, single for many years and so looking forward to my new venture in life. I had thought that while living my busy life, raising my bio kids, adopted, foster……all the while solo parenting past 25yrs, that I had still maintained the intimacy, the waiting during the Holidays etc. Not so! Things are quiet enough now and your post was great timing for me. I tell all my kids, grandkids…MoM/Nana is doing Nana for a while now. They know me well enough to know that means me, The Father, Lord, Holy Spirit. Oh, at 59yrs old I’ve been through all the seasons of my mind regarding the true birth season, the reasons for each event, the dislike of consumerism…… all in silence hidden away within me while occasionally and methodically allowing myself to be shuffled about. What you have shared I consider truth, simple and yet so powerful. I like simple šŸ™‚ I shall enjoy this Holiday to the fullest extent of the Father with great expectations of our coming Lord. I am a “Farmher”, simple, down to earth, gently seasoned and I found you accidently (yeah right :0 ) several years ago…been following you since. Thanks for sharing your heart, thoughts, beliefs, wisdom…..of which I gratefully appreciate. Blessings, Robin

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