I'm not sure why it took me by surprise, but it did. It happened almost as soon as Thanksgiving dinner was cleaned up. The very next evening … yes, you guessed it. Homes covered in Christmas lights. Santas and reindeer decorating lawns. Christmas music on the radio non-stop. "Wait a minute! Can't we hold off at least until Sunday???!! Advent doesn't start until Sunday, people!!!"
Well, it's one of those years when the first Sunday of Advent came right on the heels of Thanksgiving Day. It is what it is.
Of course, we Christians wish that the world around us would focus more on the birth of Jesus than on Santa, reindeer, toys, trees, lights, etc. Personally, however, I'm okay with our Christmas celebrations including the "expanded" secular version of the holiday. That's all part of what makes the season so special.
I think that the REAL problem with the secular celebration of Christmas is that we Christians lament what we proclaim to be the loss of "the real reason for the season." However, so many of us are unwilling to step up to the plate when it comes to passing on the faith to our young people. And we should all be asking ourselves a serious question this week: what am I doing personally to teach others "the real reason for the season"? Am I talking to my children and grandchildren about Jesus and about my relationship with Him? Am I sharing with them the story of the Nativity and the meaning it has for me? And am I not only telling them but, especially, am I showing them how much I trust God with every aspect of my life?
There's still better than three weeks to share the Good News with someone else. And don't forget to invite them to worship with you this Advent season!