The kids are planning their costumes for Halloween. The news is already discussing the shortage of turkeys and the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving meal. The airlines are scheduling holiday travel and the big box stores are already lining their aisles with Christmas trees. We have reached that time of year when one holiday merges right into the next.
It is the “most wonderful time of the year” in many ways.
That said, there are many people who have arrived in this country who will want to celebrate Christmas but might not have a home or the means to do that this year. The entire population of Ukraine is likely to have the most difficult Christmas season of their lives.
Every Christmas season has its own unique stories, but every Christmas season is truly about the original Christmas story. That is why we should consider Christmas now, before Halloween.
These holidays are something most people have in common
Embedded in this long holiday season will be a political election that promises controversy. Some of the issues making our news may also gather around our Thanksgiving tables and Christmas celebrations.
It will be easy to know the things we disagree about, but what do we have in common?
I was outside of a Trader Joe’s supermarket this week and saw a sign that stated their company values. It said things like integrity, kindness, courtesy, quality, friendly, helpful, and top quality. It struck me when I looked at the sign how much most people have in common. Who doesn’t appreciate high standards and great character?
We all have a lot of differences these days, and it was good to realize that we also have a whole lot in common.
The holiday season is a great time to remember that most of us share similar goals in life, even if we believe there are different paths to reaching those goals. It might help if we would focus more on what we have in common than what we consider to be our differences.
I like the pumpkins but not the skeletons. I enjoy the kids in cute costumes but not the adults who scare the kids with what they chose to wear. I probably wouldn’t mind Halloween if it were celebrated as it was intended, the eve of All Saints’ Day. The saints are worth celebrating, not Satan.
A verse for Halloween: “O you who love the Lᴏʀᴅ, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 97:10). A happy Halloween is remembering we live to honor the saints and celebrating the fact Christians are delivered from all things evil or wicked.
A day for thanksgiving
I have always loved Thanksgiving. I love the food, the football, and the idea that we should take a day to be truly thankful for the lives we are blessed to live. I am thankful for my family, my friends, and mostly for the faith we share. God deserves our praise and our expressions of gratitude. It is good for our souls to be thankful.
My favorite verse for Thanksgiving is: “Oh give thanks to the Lᴏʀᴅ, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (1 Chronicles 16:34).
God is good and deserves our deepest gratitude.
A Christmas about Christ
Every year I am determined to celebrate Christmas with greater simplicity. I sometimes wish for the holidays I see pictured in movies. Busy schedules, various cities, and diverse families often don’t blend during the holidays. In many ways, Christmas seems more about scheduling than celebrating.
But one thing holds firm. Christmas is the story of Christ.
Christmas is about “Joy to the World” that arrived on one “O Holy Night.”
Christmas is about the “Angels from the Realms of Glory” who announced that “Love Came Down at Christmas.”
Christmas is about how “Good Christian Men, Rejoice” and the time “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”
Mostly, Christmas is about “The First Noel” and the “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” that “The Little Drummer Boy” worshiped.
Every Christmas is celebrated with important traditions that just need a few adjustments each year. Even in changing seasons, the theme of Christmas will always be the same: “O Come All Ye Faithful” to praise, sing, and pray, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
Why should we consider Christmas before Halloween?
This year’s Advent Book is a second printing of The Songs Tell the Story, first published for Christmas 2019. I wrote it as a reminder that the great hymns of Christmas tell us the true and timeless story of our Christmas season.
We sold out early in 2019, and many people expressed a desire to purchase more copies than we had to share. This year, we are taking preorders so that, hopefully, everyone who wants a copy can receive one. As always, many of our donors will be sent a copy as our gift, but if you would like additional copies, you can preorder those now.
Why should we consider Christmas before Halloween?
Because, while all the holidays are special, Christmas and Easter are truly “holy-days” for Christians.
Our ministry wants to help you keep your Christmas holiday focused on the pure story of our Savior’s birth. The Songs Tell the Story is something you and your family can share this Christmas season, and we hope it will bless your holiday.
The Apostle John said that Jesus, “the true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). Jesus is the “light of the world,” and sharing the celebration of his birth is something most people have in common. I hope this year’s Advent book, The Songs Tell the Story, will help you spend time with Christ each day of your holiday season.
Let the holiday season begin! And may the holiday be a holy-day.