Lately I have seen a lot of Facebook comments and posts from friends of mine who are ordained clergy or lay ministers calling for people to not put the cart ahead of the horse and get all crazy about Christmas before the actual event. One of my friends was so bold as to state that no one should decorate their homes or sing Christmas Carols before Christmas Day. (I got no reply when I asked about singing them on Christmas Eve… guess my smarty pants self didn’t ingratiate myself with that comment.) He continued to say that Advent is about waiting and preparation. That instead of decorating we should be praying, watching, waiting, and anticipating. I agree that during Advent we should be doing all of those things, but my question is… why does it have to be in exclusion of our rituals and traditions such as decorating and singing Christmas Carols?
For me putting up my tree and getting to stare at it for a month before Christmas adds to my anticipation. The festive feel in my apartment adds to my excitement. Last weekend we sang some Christmas Carols at a party hosted by a congregation member and it just added to my feelings of joy and apprehension. Did those who heard the prophets proclamations not have a level of excitement along with their anticipation? Those from Bethlehem who were told by Micah that a great ruler of Israel was coming from them had to have been stoked! All the other kids with their pumped up kicks who were baptized by John had to have felt that something huge was happening and been beyond excited. Mary herself sang for joy when she learned she was with child.
Rituals and Traditions are a very important part of our lives as Christians… I think as long as you have balance, then there is no call for people to quit decorating and singing. Find a good Advent devotional. Read the Bible. Pray. Listen. Wait. Anticipate. AND HAVE SOME FREAKING FUN IN THE PROCESS! Advent is about waiting, reflection, and anticipation, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring and painful!