‘Tis the season of joy


‘Tis the season … to debate about when it is appropriate to decorate for Christmas.

There is a plethora of opinions as varied and diverse as the decorations on a family Christmas tree. Some argue that each holiday must be given its own individual time to be properly observed. Each holiday should be observed in its own due season, and the next holiday ought not be celebrated until the preceding holiday has passed. Others adopt a more fluid, progressive approach. They argue that the dates don’t matter.

Celebrate whatever you like, for as long as you like, however you like. Others still argue that all of these holidays are simply cogs in the materialistic machine, intended to squeeze all of the capital possible out of our pockets and into the economy.

Those who know me know that I am an early adopter. I have no problem celebrating holidays on their given days, but Christmas is my favorite. Once the Fourth of July passes, I’m ready to bust out the trees and string up the lights.

This tends to put me at odds with advocates for fall holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving in particular. Traditionally, I hold back my Christmas spirit until Halloween arrives. Most years, my costume is Christmas-themed.

This year, I dressed as a reindeer for trunk or treat at our church and donned a Christmas sweater and a Santa hat for trick or treat. One young man was incredulous when he saw me in my chosen attire. He said, “Trick or … Sir, I think you’ve got the wrong holiday.” My response was, “Buddy, it’s always Christmas in this house.”

I’m not trying to ignore other holidays. I enjoy Halloween festivities. Costumes and candy are always a win in my book, but I don’t need it to be Oct. 31 to find joy in those things. I absolutely love Thanksgiving. There are few things that bring more joy to my heart than eating good food while enjoying the company of family and friends in an attempt to acknowledge our gratefulness for all the many blessings God has given us.

Again, I don’t need it to be the last Thursday of November to be thankful. Actually, I would argue if we are only expressing our thankfulness on that day, we might be missing the mark.

I absolutely love twinkling lights, Christmas songs and celebrating the savior around which I have built my life. As you might guess, I don’t need it to be Dec. 25 to find joy in those things. In many ways, our holiday expressions are simply a reflection of the joy we feel on the inside. Or perhaps our various holiday expressions are an attempt to inspire a little bit of joy in the world around us.

I assure you that when I put on my Christmas sweaters in late October/early November that there is no ill will in my heart toward folks who love other holidays more. I’m simply excited that Christmas is drawing closer, and I’m ready to bring some “joy to the world.”

I would submit that it would be a very rare thing indeed for someone to begin celebrating in their hearts and homes in an attempt to stop another from doing so in theirs. Life can be difficult and discouraging at times. We all find ourselves in need of a pick-me-up to help drive the blues away and inspire us to keep moving forward. We need reminders that there is good in the world. We could all use something from time to time to inspire fun, thankfulness and joy in our lives.

There is no joy added to our own lives when we attempt to limit or impede the joy in another’s life. There is certainly nothing gained by allowing their joy to hinder our own. It seems to me that we should be looking to open any and all avenues that bring more light, love and laughter in the world.

I think the apostle Paul said it best when he prayed, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him…” Whatever decorations adorn your home, I pray they are a reflection of the joy in your heart and an inspiration to the world in which we live.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected].

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