We often complain about the commercialization of Christmas, and note with disgust how Christmas displays start taking over store floor space in mid-October. (I remember as a kid when they started going up before Thanksgiving – everyone complained then, too.) And I am in whole hearted agreement that corporate America’s concept of Christmas is, for the most part, sickening.
Some individuals of very strong faith take the issue to the other extreme. They put up no decorations until shortly before Christmas. Even until Christmas day. As a husband and father, I am not too keen on that approach, either, and not because I enjoy trees, tinsel, and exorbitant electric bills.
No, I like to decorate early – as early as the day after Thanksgiving – for spiritual reasons too. And this comes from how I view Christmas.
Christmas is, of course, the commemoration of the birth of Our Lord and Savior. It memorializes His first coming. But it is more than that. Read the Mass readings for the last few weeks. We have been reading from the Book of Revelations. We have been reading eschatological passages from Thessalonians and Matthew. We have been reading about His Second Coming.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops describes Advent as “a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas.”
So we are not just memorializing, we are preparing. We are preparing for Christ to come again. And we WANT Him to come again – preferably without the earthquakes and antichrist. We are excited about the prospect. At least I am. If my beloved were to be gone for an extended trip, I would be prepared for her return long beforehand. The house would be ready, the welcome home signs hung, the balloons inflated days before she was scheduled to arrive. What more Christ?
The lights on my house represent the light of Christ’s love that I want, in my own little way, to shine on the world. The music and singing in my home are invitations sent up to Heaven, saying Maranatha! Come, Lord!
So I don’t feel bad about having my tree up, the lights blazing, the carols on the stereo. I don’t feel bad about feeling joyous all Advent long. It really is the most wonderful time of year! Christ is coming!