The elves are starting. Many parents do the elf on the shelf thing (Not me, Advent is busy, and we find them creepy although lots of parents do a good job) or even the kindness elves. Christmas flyers are being sent out, and of course retail has been talking Christmas forever
Tumblr is starting to look snowy
Technically, in my family, we aren’t supposed to listen to Xmas music til thanksgiving
And you have to watch Love Actually 6 weeks before Christmas, because that’s when the
movie starts……and that may be before Thanksgiving.
Then on thanksgiving we toast with Egg Nog and watch our first official Christmas movie–which is tricky to decide…. (My brother wants “Its a Wonderful Life” I like “Miracle on 34th” My one sister likes “Holiday Inn” My other sister likes “The Santa Clause” the kids prefer “The Grinch who Stole Christmas” the cartoon)
And we do celebrate St. Nick’s day on Dec. 6th where St. Nick leaves Candy in everyone’s shoes and a family game/movie in the holiday spirit……
Ok, lets be honest, we celebrate ALL MONTH LONG
I am all for surprises and delayed gratification, I love waiting for good things, and I like advent, but since I (and everyone else) is already planning Christmas…….I wonder if some year WE ought to just OWN Christmas at church the way retail does.
You know go all out
Start celebrating as soon as humanly possible
Tell the Christmas story five weeks in a row. Because there is always Way, way too much story to get through on Christmas Eve (and I always feel sad for the parts I miss)–Angels and Shepherds and Wise Men and Mary and Joseph (not to mention all those animals hanging around)….so many scriptural narratives to cover!!!
And there are so many good ways to tell the Christmas story, Velveteen Rabbit, The Littlest Angel, the Gift of the Magi, Miracle on 34th St, all the puppy and kitten present stories, the shepherds perspective, the drummer boy, the (three) wise men, the unexpected Christmas youtube video, the googlemaps version of Mary and Joseph’s journey, Charlie Brown & the Grinch, the advent conspiracy, the feeding of people on thankgiving, etc. etc. etc.
As someone in the Nextchurch Twitter discussion pointed out, we are celebrating Christ’s birth ALL THE TIME anyway.
Besides, not everyone may even know the Christmas Carols anymore (tears) maybe we should sing them on Sunday–I know the ambiant music never covers as many true hymns and carols as I want (Holly Jolly Christmas is fun, but First Noel speaks to me)
Maybe Advent is during the week and Christmas is every Sunday. (Hey, it works for Lent right?)
How would you take ownership if you starting celebrating Christmas after thanksgiving? How would it change how your church did mission that month? Could you tell the gospel in different ways? Are there lead-in activities that might make it more possible to engage and connect to the community? How about your stewardship campaign, if you directly tied it to Xmas could you do so in a good/GREAT way?
Seems to me that if we are to party people into the kingdom, great mission/storytelling and singing of Christmas is a great way to start….after all, who doesn’t love the candlelit service? Who doesn’t wish that this is how church feels all the time?
One of these years, I’m going all IN!