Cynthia L. Eppley Nov 4, 2020
I suppose I should have expected it. When you walk into Costco or Lowes and see the Christmas trees in August? Really?
Usually I am aghast and dismayed. But this year? Not so much.
They call it the “Christmas Creep.” The relentless marketing of Christmas closer to other Fall holidays.
I grew up in a small town in South Jersey. Christmas was magical, at least in my memory. It included going to get our tree from a small stand on Grant Street. When we were little there was the anticipation of putting up the tree and decorating it.
Very few people use tinsel now, but to us, it was like a shower of icicles. In my enthusiasm, I’d stand on the stairs and fling it into the air, wishing it to land like new fallen snow. I’m sure my parents spent many hours separating it and placing it neatly after I went to bed.
Later it became a tradition to trim the tree together with family and friends. We anticipated it and looked forward to it after Thanksgiving.
“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks draped in Holiday style, in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas…..”
The town was decorated with draped tinsel above Broadway, and at the center was either a bell (frosted of course) or a star. Driving down the main street was an event as the decorations were strung, but not lit until Thanksgiving night.
Let the Holidays begin!
This year is so different. First the trees were out, and then came Christmas presents in the stores. And so it seemed that Christmas is getting pushed ahead of even Halloween.
I have a few friends who have started listening to Christmas music. In mid October.
Another friend just put up her Christmas tree. (Disclaimer: if you have an artificial tree like we do? This is so easy!)
But what is interesting to me is: Why do we push it? Why is it necessary to rush ahead?
“I don’t want to hear a single person complain that is being celebrated too early. This year has been a dumpster fire, let us be merry.”
The few friends who have gone ahead into Christmas have been admonished by others: “Its too early!”
And here is her golden response that resonates with us all:
“Especially on these cold rainy and windy days…. I needed it….. We have been all smiles since we put it up! “Because…. it’s 2020 and all the rules are out the window. Happiness ranks over anything else….. and these girls are happy!!!
A Realistic Christmas
So much has been taken away in 2020. How do we count the ways?
Peanuts films have been pulled:
“Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!” “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”
“A Charlie Brown Christmas”
Many shops have been closed.
Holiday gatherings are limited so as to limit the spread of Covid. Fear is still present.
Jobs have been lost and income slashed. How do we afford gifts this year?
But the most significant loss has been the loss of life: friends and family that have been taken this year, either from Covid or other illness. It is a different kind of Christmas this year.
A Real Christmas
“We Need a Little Christmas” was first performed in the 1966 production of Mame. But the backstory is that Mame has lost her fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and she used this song to cheer up her family.
“Haul out the holly
Put up the tree before my spirit falls again
Fill up the stocking
I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now
For we need a little Christmas Right this very minute
We need a little Christmas now!
Perhaps this is not so different in our present time.
A Deeper, Real Christmas
2020 has been hard.
“This is the winter of our discontent.”
Even Joe Biden forecast:
“United we can, and will, overcome this season of darkness in America.”
Free from Fear
“Come Thou long expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art; Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Perhaps we need to look to the True Light as we head towards Christmas.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
Our peace comes from a Deeper place than the external trappings of gifts and trees and tinsel.
O Come, O Come Immanuel!
So let’s decorate!
Jesus IS the light of the world.
As we sing our Christmas Carols, let us find our rest in Him.
With many unknowns before us, let us find in Him our Hope, our Strength and Consolation. As we bask in the glow of a Christmas tree, let’s find our deepest desires filled with Joy.
And as we snuggle down with our blanket and hot cocoa, gazing at the wonder of our trees?
We will know that He has overcome the darkness and He is the Joy of our longing hearts.