Yes, it can be commercialized, but SO WHAT?!? There’s something about the Christmas season that is special. Yes, you have Chanukah, Kwaanza and a bunch of other holidays that vie for attention, but the Big Cheese of holidays is on Dec 25. Here are my 10+ favorite things about the Advent season (anyone know what “Advent” means? Just taught it to my Middle School class! See below for the answer). Hope you get the Christmas fever just by reading the list:
- Hard to beat God becoming man in order to not only save us from our sins, but to teach us a few things about God’s character as well as initiating his Kingdom.
- The fact that so many parts of Jesus’ birth were predicted in the Bible hundreds of years before they occurred is still mind boggling. Being born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) and in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) are just a couple of doozies.
- CHRISTMAS MOVIES! James Stewart! Bing Crosby! Margaret Sullivan! Donna Reed!
- Handel’s Messiah-is there a better piece of music ever composed? And he did it in two weeks! You may not even know that it doesn’t even end with the “Hallelujah” chorus. There’s still another half hour of wondrous sounds! Correlli’s Christmas Concerto is no slacker either, with its meditative yet celebrative moods.
- The Charlie Brown Christmas! Thank God for Vince Guaraldi!
- Tacky Christmas CDs. Sure, there are classics like Nat, Frank and Bing. But you’ve GOT to love Elvis as well, and even the country, bluegrass and jazz ones sound great. I have one with just a banjo and tuba that delivers a smoking take of “The 12 Days of Christmas!”
- Nativity Scenes! I collect them from all over the world when I do medical mission trips, and have them displayed all over my office and house. I got one from Alaska-Mary and Joseph are in an Igloo, surrounded by moose and polar bears. The paintings on the Ethiopian one are other worldly. The retablos from Peru are wonderfully quaint and innocent, and the African wood carvings have a mystical somberness about them. I’m still looking for a baseball one!
- CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! We at our house keep it simple, but anything that points to Jesus being the “light” of the world is fine. But, I do have my limits, as I tell my class, “He’s NOT the icicle of the world.”
- RED and GREEN! Poinsettas were conceived just for the holidays, and everyone looks fantastic in outfits and vests that would make the Von Trapp family jealous. Then, there’s dieing things like pancake and waffle batter red and green that makes breakfast just so wonderful
- Egg Nog-with nutmeg, cinnamon, or whatever you want. I pour it into my waffle batter. WOW
Singing Christmas Carols-Ah! To be politically incorrect and sing songs in public about God and Jesus. Even better, in my Sunday School class, we add the words to “Amazing Grace” to fit into EVERYChristmas Carol,and it WORKS. Try it with “Joy to the World,” for starters.
- Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge-Ah-to see the redemption of a soul captured on film. The book is also a joy to read by the fireplace. You can do it in one sitting.
- “Peace on earth, and good will toward men with whom He is pleased.” Hard concept to beat.
- BTW-The original “Santa Claus” was a 3rd Century Greek Christian priest, Saint Nicholas, who gave gifts to children. And as they say in Our Big Fat Greek Wedding, “So, there you go!”
Answer: “Advent” means “coming” or “arriving” , so we’re celebrating Jesus’ coming on earth