I was reading around the blogosphere and stumbled across a person's blog who was proudly telling about how his little daughter today opened her window and yelled at the top of her lungs at the next door neighbors, "You should not be decorating, it is Advent!" Cute story, huh? Or is it? I'm not so sure. Let's see, the child yells at the neighbors, strike one. The child condemns Christmas decorations, strike two. And then the proud dad, yes, a Lutheran pastor, brags about it all, strike three.
This time of year we have our share of wringing hands over the "secularization" of Christmas, railing against the "commercialization of Christmas," and weeping and gnashing of teeth at the Christmas music piped over the speaker systems at the secular temples of our society: the shopping malls. Oh, the horror of it all! And then to add to it, we have ponderous lectures about how Christmas should not be allowed to intrude upon Advent, in any way!
To all such persons, dear friends all, I say, "Bah, humbug!"
I say, instead: "Bring Christmas on! Lets spend our time working to make sure the light of Christ shines in the darkness, for as often and as long as we possibly can shine it." Let's not react to the spirit of the age by presenting ourselves, and our faith, as a bunch of old church ladies, wagging our fingers and scolding people, doing all we can to confirm the stereotype that Christianity is all about making sure somebody, somewhere, is not having fun.
I'm quite sure we can observe Advent well and properly while also using this time to witness boldly and joyfully of the reason why we observe Advent.
To coin a phrase, let's light a candle, rather than curse the darkness. Our family sings in Advent, "Light one candle for hope…" and so forth. Let's use this season to present the good news. Here is how one of those naughty Advent Christmas decorators lights up their house for the neighborhood. No Santas, or Frosty the Snowmen here. No, just the bright white light of Christ, the babe of Bethlehem. This scene will be presented, every night, from now through the twelve days of Christmas, until January 6.
And a merry, happy Advent and Christmas to all!