Christmas has kind of snuck up on me. Again!
I was reading someone's blog about a week ago and listening in on their concern that it didn't feel like Christmas. "Of course not!" I thought "Christmas is ages away." Only it wasn't, and it certainly isn't now! Christmas is just around the corner!
Their blog got me thinking. What does
Christmas feel like? What magical things need to happen for it to feel like Christmas? What constitutes Christmas?
Neither Frank or I are from families that place a huge emphasis on the Christmas season - Frank's people aren't religious and my father strongly believed it was wrong to celebrate what was essentially a pagan feast conscripted by the church.
This is our first Christmas together as a married couple, and we have the chance to carve out our own tradition, so we're working out how we want to celebrate. We try and remember the significance of Jesus all year, not just in December - but it will be nice to do something special together on Christmas Day. At the moment we're planning a trip to one of the beaches in a local National Park, and I'm thinking up what delicious yummies I can pack in a picnic lunch.
So we don't personally get too caught up in the whirl of Christmas. Saying that - we have just been part of our church Carol Service this weekend. We've been helping to plan it for weeks, and yesterday saw the big event take place - a BBQ in a local park, followed by a candle lit carol service (as candle lit as you can get when the sun keeps shining until after 8 o'clock!). We sang the requisite songs, were mesmerised by flickering candle light, and ate christmas cake galore.
Does that mean it's Christmas? Carols and good times? We didn't sing 'Silent Night
' last night, and I can't help wondering if a carol service is really a carol service without 'Silent Night
'! It just didn't feel right.
Ah, we're back to that Christmas feeling again! Is Christmas cheer, then, something we create ourselves by performing certain rituals? A construct of our imaginations? Christmas lights, carols, tinsel, mulled wine, christmas cards, shopping, turkey (or prawns if you're Australian!), gifts, nativity scenes, candy cane, trees, secret santa - blend together with family and friends and you've got the right atmosphere? If we threw all those things together in August could we create the Christmas feeling then?
The mystery of Christmas hey! Whatever the feeling is, and however you get it - I love it. Even omitting loud decorations and wild celebrations, it's a delightful season of goodwill. An opportunity to wish one another well and enjoy the bond of fellowship together with all those who join in the party.
So wherever you are and however you celebrate, may you experience all the 'Christmas feeling' you need to restore your soul after a wearying year. May you create the perfect blend of ingredients for a special time of love and laughter. And may your Christmas be filled with joy and delight.