Christmas Hope Starts in November

Color fades from the leaves. High School students are beginning to eye the piles of leaves in their neighbors’ yards, and translate them into quick cash. Fall holidays are over, and the world waits as the days of pumpkins and apple cider fade into icy temperatures and sweaters. It’s November. Right now, I’m listening to Christmas music. I know, I know…all you haters out there…

There tend to be two types of people.

There are the people who passionately love Christmas music. You can catch this kind of person slipping Bing Crosby records into Harvest Party playlists. This kind of person can bring ebullient joy, but can also disgust everyone around them with this excess of holiday cheer.

The second type of person loathes Christmas music, is upset that radio stations begin mentioning the topic after Thanksgiving, and this person goes into hiding two weeks before Christmas when that’s all that’s being played on the airwaves.

Admittedly, I’m the first type of person. I passionately love Christmas music. Actually, I passionately love Christmas in general. If you don’t, that’s alright, but let me explain why I’m preparing for Christmas in November.

Christ found me in a frozen December. That’s quite a story, but nevertheless December is when I became a Christian. The entire season of Christmas means a great deal to me because of this, and as a result I associate Christmas with hope, with a Savior.

The older I get, the more grateful I am to be given a season in which hope is celebrated. The world can be a dreadful, dark, and despairing place. Our world can be so cold and so cruel. Sometimes I find my soul growing cold with the weather. I get more impatient with people. My thoughts become more cynical and self-protective. It’s ugly. The hope of redemption, of Christ coming as child and as our Redeemer, draws me out of that. That’s why a few years ago I started a ritual of reading The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens every Christmas. I know, I know. All you English majors out there are going to roll your eyes and say, “Oh, that’s just a morality tale written for Post-Industrial England”. I don’t particular care. I read Dicken’s novel every year, because Scrooge’s redemptive experience reminds me that redemption is a possibility despite our wretched darkness. It reminds me that Hope is living, and we were not born for despair.

The idea that redemption and hope exist is the reason I find myself turning on Christmas music in November, and the reason I have Christmas rituals. This time is the advent of Hope. Friends, no matter what your feelings are about Christmas, consider what living in expectation of Christ’s birth can do in your own life? Living in expectation of Christ’s birth can make us more hopeful human beings, more grateful that Christ would redeem us, and more apt to spread our gratitude among our brothers and sisters.

Brothers and Sisters,

Despair not.

For years ago, Hope was born among us.

We can be redeemed.

Merry Christmas