In December we begin hearing all the predictable clichés of the season, some a bit tired and overused, but many still filled with deep meaning. One that should never be lost is: “Jesus – the reason for the season."
There are other clichés, of course, that we preachers traditionally try to spoon-feed our people: “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas”... “Let’s not major in minors”... “Let’s not cater to commercialism”... “Let’s remember, the Wise Men didn’t journey to meet Rudolph.” There must be a zillion of them, Christmas catch phrases and quotable quotes designed to emphasize the sacred nature of the season while de-emphasizing the secular. But, what if “the reason for the season” is revealed in all of December’s magic? What if we keep Christ in Christmas even when we are not being intentionally (or even consciously) religious?
What if the silly songs that we hear every December (including my vote for the worst holiday song ever written or sung by any human, “Dominick The Christmas Donkey”)... what if all the store window decorations and office parties... what if all the fruit cakes (that are never really eaten but are just re-wrapped and re-gifted year by year)... what if all the TV commercials and Hallmark movies and animated specials... what if all the family reunions and plates of turkey and pieces of pumpkin pie... what if all of it actually serves to remind us that for one brief month something new and different is afoot in the world? And you and I know that something is Someone, Someone Whose arrival has changed the way whole world is structured at least for a month! Believers and non-believers alike decorate and sing and greet each other with smiles and good wishes. And even those who don’t want to say “Merry Christmas” still say “Happy Holidays,” which is new and different for them. And it’s all because Someone is coming, and everything is altered by His arrival.
Perhaps a worthy spiritual discipline for Advent is to allow all the sights and sounds and experiences of the season serve as reminders that the world is different in December simply and solely because Someone special is coming. In that sense we will never be allowed to forget the reason for the season, and we will always keep Christ in Christmas.