You may have seen old TV shows and movies in which the characters put up and decorated the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. For many of us, that practiced seemed odd, having the tree up for only a day or two and then taking it down. Of course, that's because we have been conditioned to literally buy into the secularist version of Christmas: tinsel, spending money, sappy songs of fireplace-roasted chestnuts, and sleigh rides on snow-covered woodlands on bright, moon-lit nights.
Christmas begins December 25 and ends January 5, the day before Epiphany--the season of the divine revelation of our Lord, which occurred at His baptism. But this is not the time of Christmas. Christmas begins on the day when many of us put our Christmas trees away or drag them to the curb.
This year, from December 2-24, it's Advent. Historically, Advent was about preparing for the coming of God's Son in power, glory, and judgment on the Last Day. Advent used to be a darker season for contemplation of the wrath of God, a season for repentance from sin and for fasting. Christmas and Epiphany have always been the bright, happy seasons, not Advent.
The challenge of authenticity to how this season is celebrated is standard among our fallacies of how things are verses how things should be. We too often look to the world and each other for definitions of all things good and God's revelation to us becomes what is unreal. Just because many of our temporal citizens are rejecting the faith is no indication of weakness of the truth claims of Jesus Christ. Actually, it's what He prophesied. (Matthew 24: 6-33)
If we don't like the way this season is being practiced, we can stop going along with it. Look to the Lord for guidance from His Word. We can inform our friends and adult relatives that we've decided to give to the Lord. With the exception of buying for the kiddos, we've made a prayerful decision to worship the Lord. Or maybe tell them that you're waiting until after the 25th, when you can do some "real Christmas" shopping, until January 5. We are more numerous than we realize. If we're accused of being cheap, we check our motives through prayer, then be at peace with the Lord. Maybe you can start your Advent repentance in a smaller way this year by leaving the tree up a bit longer.
Don't look to other humans for the source of what is good and evil. Just because our establishment elite perverts the Christmas season (as well as the marriage bed and mocks the Godly family) does not mean that God has changed or abandoned us. What is happening here is nothing new. Psalm 73 of circa 1000 BC asked some questions that we still ask today.
The people in Malachi's time wondered where God was amidst the evils of their day. Malachi reminded them of their unfaithfulness to God. But also God promised a Savior to them, as well, "For I the Lord do not change; therefore, you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed." (Malachi 3) God would be faithful to them as He is to us. We have the same Savior, and He saves us in spite of our own evil. Gloria Deo--Glory to God.
Rev. Timothy Matthew
of Redeemer Lutheran