The earliest date on the list above. In fact more than a month before Christmas. I have a hard rule that NO Christmas decorations go up until after the Thanksgiving pumpkins are put away. I have noticed, even though Thanksgiving was really early this year, many put their Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving. Why?
As I began putting away Thanksgiving decorations today and getting out the Christmas decorations, I came up with an answer~
We have all watched too many Hallmark movies and read too many fluffy Christmas stories and come to the conclusion
We approach Christmas year end--year out with expectations of living our own version of the Hallmark dream. Instead of being realistic about man's capabilities of living a fairy tale dream of perfection, we cling to the hope of this year being different.
I am guilty as the rest! After my father died, Christmas lost its magic in the home I grew up in. What is really sad about that is my younger brother was only 10. We did not celebrate with family, and our own celebration was meager at best. Though I tried to decorate during my teen years, it was met with no enthusiasm. The hope Christmas brings had died with Daddy's death.
Fast forward to my adult years. I worked feverishly trying to create that "Perfect Christmas" for my own children. I baked the cookies, made the candy, prepared the feast, bought the perfect gifts, visited with all the families. Everything the world and media tells us makes for a perfect Christmas, I did it--or certainly tried. Always adding to the list of what needed to be done each and every year, I was on a perceptual quest for the perfect experience.
NOW--here I am in my ripe old age. The kids are gone and I go see them so that the grands are in their home for the holiday. Yet, I still decorate. Many of my friends in similar circumstances, stopped decorating. As I thought about why I still do, I came to the conclusion it brings back memories of wonderful times and I have friends who regularly visit. I enjoy their enjoyment of my holiday offering.
Go back to the Why? of us all being so enthralled with Christmas. The hope man is able to perpetuate for that perfect Christmas lives on--even after disappointments. Though we may come up short on the Hallmark ideal Christmas, we do find a way to convince ourselves their is hope that this year we might hit that mark.
Hope springs eternal--when it comes to Christmas. There is hope to be associated with Christmas and it has nothing to do with what we have made Christmas in to. That hope comes from acknowledging their was a baby born LONG AGO who brought hope into this world. He was born to give us hope for a future when there had been none. He entered this world and lived among men to become the sacrificial lamb to atone for our sin. Their is hope in Christmas--the First Noel spotlighted that coming, the Heavenly Angels announced His birth and men fell down and worshiped A Baby knowing He would do great things. Their is hope in Christmas--it rained down upon us all those years ago. And so--we remember and anticipate each and every year--with great hope--a better day will come and it all began with Christmas--Long--Long Ago.