Every year, I have to suffer through the admonitions of well-meaning liturgical Christians who insist that it is incorrect to sing (or listen to) Christmas carols until December 24, because until that date, it’s not the *proper* season for it. (If you’re not Christian, substitute “the day after Thanksgiving” and proceed.) Not satisfied with self-righteous abstinence, they feel they must loudly – and often – announce this *truth* to others.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:5
Furthermore, all who consider themselves Christians (and preferably, even those who don’t) had better join them. We must put on our sober faces, sit in the dark, and sing minor key hymns until Christmas Eve.
Because we all know that Jesus was actually born on December 25. That he advocated for dour expression and doleful song in the face of joyful events. That this was *exactly* how Jesus rocked a celebration.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2: 7-10
One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?” Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. Matt. 9:15
The truth is, if Jesus stood among us today, he would never castigate people for celebrating, especially not the arrival of the Messiah. He would probably say something like: people are not made for seasons, seasons are made for people. (Mark 2:27)
So. To all my beloved fellow liturgical Christians: Honor the season in your way, and let others honor in theirs. Quit judging. Back off – not just from me, but from EVERYONE else, too. You see, you don’t know our stories. You don’t know our burdens or our struggles. You don’t know what courage it takes for some of us to choose to celebrate in a season that reminds us so sharply of what we’ve lost. You don’t know what solace can be found in a familiar carol.
Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matt. 16:23
I know you mean well, but you aren’t being the voice of Christ in the world, you’re being the opposite. Jesus doesn’t need Advent police. He needs people with open hearts, minds and arms to bring more love and less judgment. THAT’S how to celebrate Advent.