Christmas came knocking early this year, too early I thought, and I couldn't close the door fast enough! It was two days before Halloween, and I was sitting in my studio putting the finishing touches on my costume for my brother's party. As I added little plastic spiders to my "Black Widow" veil, I decided some music would be nice and turned on my radio. "Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin' ring ting tinglin'-" came singing out, and I groaned "NOOOO!" I nearly knocked over my Diet Coke trying to quickly shut it off.
"Why are they doing this again?" I thought as I pouted in silence. By "they" I mean my favorite Christian radio station. Last year they played only holiday music from the beginning of November until Christmas Day. Apparently, this year they were beginning in October! A couple of days later my answer came in the form of an email from the radio station (having been a supporter, I'm on their list). They explained that their mission is to reach as many people as possible with the message of God's love, and that when they play the Christmas music they gain many more listeners. Fair enough, I thought grumpily, but I don't have to listen to it.
It is not that I am a Scrooge or Grinch. I love Christmas, but I want it to be special. With stores putting their Christmas things out before the Halloween stuff is even taken down, with companies stuffing my mailbox daily with catalogs and sales ads, beginning nearly as soon as school starts, it seems to lose some of it's warmth.
Christmas came knocking again, the weekend of the Teddy Bear show in Hunt Valley. This time I opened the door a little... While the show was two weeks before Thanksgiving, it had a Christmas theme. Yes, Teddy Bear makers are as keen as other retailers to take advantage of the season where giving often equals spending. But the festive costumes, colorful lighted table dispays, and of course the Teddy Bears themselves had everyone smiling and feeling the warmth, including me. I couldn't help it. I really do love Christmas. On our drive back to Ohio, we even listened to some Christmas songs on the radio. The first one was Josh Groben's rendition of "O Holy Night". Sean had reached for the seek button to change the station, and, having heard my earlier grumblings about Christmas music in November, raised his eyebrows when I stayed his hand. "This one is OK, I guess," I told him. The scene repeated itself with a couple more songs. Mary's Boy Child-- "Oh this is one I never get to hear!" Mary Did You Know?--"But this is a good one."
At the third knocking, I opened the door wide. Shortly after the Teddy Bear show, a friend and fellow Teddy Bear artist posted the following on Facebook, "Merry Christmas! Just practicing." Her post was met with much grumbling, mirroring my attitude of just a few weeks before-too soon! Then Daphne posted "Happy Birthday, Jesus!" and I laughed out loud, not at Daphne-at myself! It was the kind of laugh you let out when you see that the answer to something you've been puzzling over has been staring you right in the face all along! A laugh of realization, a laugh of recognition. I recognized Christmas again for what it really means, a celebration of Jesus' birth, of His life, of His love, and ultimately His sacrifice for us! I recognized it, and let it in with heart and arms open, embracing it warmly, realizing it is never to early to celebrate God's love! Of course, deep down I knew it all along-I can tell by which Christmas songs I let in early, but I guess sometimes I need a reminder.
Enjoy this song which is much more than "OK I guess", it is one of my favorites!
And Merry Christmas!