Christmas doesn’t just fall on Christmas
Raised as a Christmas tree farmer’s son, I learned one of the best lessons. Christmas doesn’t just fall on Christmas. This miracle—and all its yuletide joy—happens again on December 26th, December 27th, December 28th and so on.
Imagine your dad being awakened by his kids around 5 AM on Christmas morning after having spent some 65-hours each week for at least eight to ten consecutive weeks as the manager of a small, family-owned business. My dad was fully with us on that tree-lit morning; he wasn’t called Butch for nothing; but the 25th was always on the quieter side.
Quiet was actually nice. It was our norm. We did the present thing. A family breakfast was also in there, but as a boy who had access to my stuffed stocking at least an hour or so earlier, did I really remember eating pancakes later that morning?
For any number of reasons, your Christmas may be quiet—or quieter—now. This, too, may not be bad because what I shared in the first paragraph of this column needs to be repeated: Christmas doesn’t just fall on Christmas.
In last week’s blog, I wrote about how biblical scholars cannot pinpoint the exact date—or even the year—of Jesus’ birth. I feel this unspecified date is intentional on God’s part because “Christmas” day (that is, Emmanuel with us) could be July 4th, September 11th, February 2nd, or any other day of the year.
As that kid, I learned that “Christmas” also happened at my grandparent’s house in a neighboring state a few days later. For me, and perhaps for you if you think about it, there have been times when “Christmas” didn’t happen on or near December 25th. I’m not talking about a Christmas in July yard sale or catching a Christmas song outside the traditional season; I’m talking about that heartstring pull, that tingle or spark of hope, peace, love and joy around you that makes you know almost silently yet surely that our God IS not just close. Our God is with us.
I remember my “Huh,” moment years ago when I learned of a family who set up a Christmas tree in their living room for when their son returned from active military duty overseas. This Christmas party happened in August.
Yeah. Huh. Just what was this family doing, anyway? Christmas? August?
Yes. Christmas. August. It doesn’t matter when we celebrate Christmas. What matters is that we do celebrate Christmas not necessarily with glitter and gold wrapping paper, but in those quiet places where we are still enough to hear our own soul seek and speak of generosity, curiosity, and a love within us that is not still but seeks to express itself.
I remember being a teenager and overhearing a woman emphatically sharing she did not like Christmas. I remember this so clearly because I was like, “Whaaaaat? Not like Christmas?” That’s not even possible! This woman’s words were not only odd; they were unforgettable.
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style may not be everyone’s fa-la-la-la-la when we consider rampant commercialism or personal, painful December memories, but opening your mind to Christmas being far beyond just a once a year event changes everything.
Do it. The celebration of God with us does not have to stop. Some will pack Christmas in boxes for the basement before the New Year. Remember that soldier and his family and make this New Year a 20/20 year: see that the miracle message of a Christ King born to us is awesome to celebrate each day.