Cool it with the Christmas

I have been trying to figure out a formula or structure to my blog to make it easier to maintain and update each day of the week (I have already decided it is good if I take a break on the weekends). 

I thought of headlines for each day, and a preliminary setup looks like this:

Monday-Music/Movie Monday-where I review a recent movie or music that I am currently experiencing.
Tuesday-Talkback or Top Ten Tuesday-I rant about a current issue, or I give you a top ten list!
Wednesday-Whimsy Wednesday-(we have Bible Study on Wednesday nights, so realistically I know all you’re gonna get is a funny youtube video/link or a good quote. Something “whimsical” get it?
Thursday-Theological Thursday-I attempt to get deep.
Friday-Photo Friday-Some of my favorite photos from the week.
I make no promises to stick to this. For example, next week on the 16th, Eleonore turns one. Next week is going to be devoted to Eleonore Bay, without apology and exception. Get ready for some gushing.
But today I am sticking with it, and it’s Talkback Tuesday. Which is essentially an excuse for me to be unapologetically sassy, and NOT an underhanded attempt to engage in sassy confrontational comment threads, getting more comments on my blog. . .I think.
It’s Christmastime. Right?
Wrong.
I will get back to this in a minute. 
On Facebook, around media outlets in general and in public, I keep seeing this thing.
People posting comments, or pictures, or links, or saying things that have to do with it being OK to say Merry Christmas.
The overall sentiment seems to be 
“F-You, I can say Merry Christmas if I want to. Get out of my F-ing way. I WILL offend you. Intentionally. Thinking intentionally, I might offend you, and I’m gonna like it, so I’m gonna do it.”
Some of the people I see this from are Christians, and some are not. Both kill me. Really. But I’m not going to “talkback” to those who don’t claim to be Christians. 
I’m going to “talkback” to the Christians.
One was shared that said:
“It’s okay to say “Merry Christmas & God Bless America”
Absolutely. It is okay. And I know there are those who want to say those things because they believe they bring joy, or they really do want God to Bless America, I in fact share these same sentiments.
And Hippy Dippy alert: I want God to Bless THE WHOLE WORLD. I warned you, so you can’t get mad.
But there is the majority, which are the sassy ones/people, demanding justice for our “rights” as Christians. 
That idea our “Christian Rights” is another post, for another time. 
And it is with those, and that school of thought that I take issue.
So, back to how I started.
It isn’t Christmastime. 
Not according to Church History, and not according to the Church Calendar. 
It’s Advent.
You may not have ever heard of it, and that’s our (Christians) fault, including me. 
Here is the definition from dictionary.com:

ad·vent

  [ad-vent]  Show IPA

noun

1.

a coming into place, view, or being; arrival: the advent of theholiday season.
2.

usually initial capital letter the coming of Christ into theworld.
3.

initial capital letter the period beginning four Sundaysbefore Christmas, observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world.
4.

usually initial capital letter Second Coming.
Origin: 
1125–75; Middle English  < Latin adventus  arrival, approach,equivalent to ad- ad-  + ven-  (stem of venīre  to come) + -tus suffix of verbal action


1.  onset, beginning, commencement, start. 

And of Christmas:

Christ·mas

  [kris-muhs]  Show IPA

noun

1.

the annual festival of the Christian church commemoratingthe birth of Jesus: celebrated on December 25 and nowgenerally observed as a legal holiday and an occasion forexchanging gifts.
And just for kicks, Christmastide as well:

Christ·mas·tide

  [kris-muhs-tahyd]  Show IPA

noun

1.

the festival season from Christmas  to after New Year’sDay.
2.

the period from Christmas Eve  to Epiphany, especially in England.
Origin: 
1620–30; Christmas  + tide1

OK. A lot to deal with there. Mainly what I want to point out is that Christmas doesn’t start until Christmas Day. Up to that point we are in the season of Advent, of waiting for Christ to come into the world.
Of waiting, patiently, in anticipation and excitement. 
So what if, instead of exercising our “right” to say Merry Christmas, 
we exercise our “right” to WAIT?
Wait and patiently exude the hope that we have because this has happened:

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:10-12

If you believe the best way to share this hope and love and your faith is to say Merry Christmas at all costs, after looking deep down and into your soul, then that is between you and Christ, and I have to respect that. 
What if instead, Christians claimed the season of Christmas. . .how out of the ordinary that would be. How outrageous, to say Merry Christmas after the commercial hoopla is done, and the presents are opened and the belly’s are stuffed, and we are in the midst of returning the sweater we didn’t want, or the earrings that are downright ugly. 
What would that look like? 
A little crazy. A little off kilter. And then someone might ask “What do you mean?”
And then we might have to “be prepared to give a reason for the hope we have within us”.
If we’re honest, its easier to say Merry Christmas when the rest of the world is saying Happy Holidays. When it’s socially acceptable  celebrate Christmas. 
We get to bask in the glow of comfortable Christianity as the rest of the world acknowledges that it is “Christmastime”.
What I am going to try to adopt is this school of thought. 
That my Lord and Savior saw fit to come to us humbly, as a vulnerable baby. And in doing that he was still so enigmatic, and so awe inspiring that the Angels came to sing, and the Shepherds came to bow. 
It radiated through his humbleness. 
I don’t think with that kind of Glory He is concerned with Christians exercising their “right” to say Merry Christmas. 
But just for the heck of it,
Happy Advent one and all!

peace to you,
meredith
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6 thoughts on “Cool it with the Christmas

  1. Thanks for this.I've been thinking a lot about Advent this year and how I want to shape our family traditions to recognize Advent and Christmas each, not all blended together, confused, and meaningless. It's hard, coming from a non-liturgical background, and liking Christmas as much as I do. But it's so good. There will always be preparations to do for Christmas beforehand, but there ought never to be disappointment the "morning after", not when the real celebration has just begun.And that's an awesome picture. Tattoo inspiration? :)And also, I told Thom he should write an album of Advent music. Maybe you and Nate should too.

  2. I have always loved the idea of Advent. Because like you said it restores the beauty, mystery, and spirit of what Christmas actually is. It's not marketable so the chance of it getting commercialized and hijacked is greatly dimished. But I personally have never been quick enough or unbusy enough to do it well. Let loving hearts enthrone Him… again.Love this post. Keep it coming. Oh, and I like your schedule of posting. I need to get some kind of order or inspiration for my blog. Help!I like the idea of Advent music. Please create and share 🙂

  3. Me too, Mere, Emily, Nat. I love it. I love the idea, but coming from a non-liturgical background, I just know very little about it. But this year I've been thinking a lot about the 12 days of Christmas being from Christmas day to Epiphany. David Crowder mentioned it at his show we went to in Tulsa this fall. I've been thinking about how I'll want to observe it when we have kids. So please, definitely keep talking about it, teaching us, reminding us about the church calendar. Merry Christmas!

  4. Hi Mere– Excellent blog post! (I had forgotten you were writing a blog). I just thought I'd pass along a recommendation on a book of Advent readings that I just discovered (although it was published in 2001). It's called Watch for the Light, and it has daily readings by Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, Madeleine L'Engle etc. This first week's readings have been all about "waiting" and how to do it. There's not too much to read each day– and it's interesting! We're working through it in my small group from now till Jan 7 (Yes– it goes through "Christmastime!"). Blessings to you and Nate and E and ? this Advent–Sally

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