I don’t like the term “ugly Christmas sweater.”
While I would certainly agree that most Christmas clothing is incredibly eccentric, attention-grabbing and perhaps a bit on the bright side, I enjoy seeing the different pieces throughout the holiday season.
I own quite a few of these modern works of art myself and wear them loudly and proudly (emphasis on loudly). Don’t get me wrong, there is no shortage of truly hideous Christmas attire, but “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” as they say.
My collection of sweaters and shirts is quite robust. Some include beloved Christmas characters, other Christmas creatures and one has cats that meow "Jingle Bells."
The crowns of my collection, however, are my Christmas sweater suits. I found them by chance a few years ago. I was searching for Christmas sweaters on the internet, and as is often the case these days, the algorithm in my social media accounts took note and started showing me “ugly Christmas sweater suits.”
It took me all of 10 minutes of perusing these babies to decide I needed one. I now own three, and I wear them when I preach during the Christmas season, not to be ironic, but because I enjoy them and find that many others do, as well.
I am painfully aware that not everybody shares my love for all things Christmas and that my Christmas attire is a bit much for some. For the first time since purchasing them, I had a moment of uncertainty as I was putting my suit on last Sunday.
There is a spirit of Scrooge in the world that seeks to limit our joy and stifle our Christmas spirit. This voice spoke to me, telling me that my joy was a distraction and that I needed to grow up and stop enjoying the silly things in life.
As I often do, I ignored this voice, put on my bright green and red jacket and made my way to church. There may come a day when I mute my Christmas spirit, but this would not be that day. The voice of the Scrooge continued to speak to me, though.
That afternoon, we loaded our bus and took a group caroling. My attire was absolutely perfect for the activity at hand. One of our stops was the local nursing home. As we made our way around the facility singing songs about the Christ child, jingling bells and merry Christmases, the residents continually commented on my Christmas suit.
Whether they were laughing at me or with me is utterly inconsequential to me. We were sharing in a moment of joy. The comment of one resident silenced the Scrooge in my mind and lifted my spirit.
Miss Martha Floyd is a longtime member of First Baptist Church. We sang our songs and presented her with a small gift. As the rest of our caroling crew made their way out of the room, I shook her hand and knelt down to speak with her for a moment. She thanked me for coming and seeing her and asked me to communicate her thanks to the church.
While still holding my hand, she took the sleeve of my jacket between her fingers and said, “This is quite the lovely suit you’re wearing today.” I said, “Thank you, Miss Martha. I wasn’t sure if I should wear it today. I enjoy it but wasn’t sure what others would think.” She told me, “Do the things that you enjoy, especially when they bring joy to others. Life’s too short to not enjoy the little things.” Wise words from a wonderful lady.
Don’t let the Scrooges in your head talk you out of your joy this Christmas season. Wear lovely Christmas sweaters. Rock some Christmas socks. Sing Christmas songs with gusto. Celebrate the coming of the savior, Jesus Christ, and find a way to experience and spread some joy to others. Share the “good news of great joy for all people” with as many people in as many ways as possible.
The season, and life in general, is too short not to enjoy the little things.
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].