A couple years ago, I shared that I time my Christmas lights to be on longer than is strictly dark. Inspired by a scraggly “Charlie Brown” tree along a road out in the country that was always lit, shining the message of love and hope in the mid-day sun or the mid-night darkness, I have always seen Christmas lights as a steady reminder of the meaning of the season under all circumstances.

This year, I have a reason to see them as a symbol of something more—of “keeping Christmas” throughout the year.

On Christmas Eve, I was running a couple of errands for the Church. As I went into and out of stores, I held doors open for folks headed the same direction. I got big smiles and “happy holidays,” or “Merry Christmas.”

I was a bit surprised. For all of my other failings in life, I have always been someone who holds doors open for other people. Yet something that I always did was being taken as a special act of Christmas kindness. At first I thought, “Wait a minute, I always do this!” But then I thought, “Wait another minute, why do I always do this? Isn’t Jesus the source of that kindness?”

Incarnation, redemption, resurrection—the cycle of Jesus’ life—shape our lives at their best. Christmas kindness, Good Friday love, Easter grace, with a following dose of Pentecost power, infuse the fabric of our lives in Christ.

It is kind of like my Christmas lights. When they are always on, it doesn’t matter how light or dark, how cold or warm, or even what time of year. Somehow, they are always there, no matter the circumstance, no matter the date. Sometimes they may seem brighter, as they did to folks on Christmas Eve, but at their best, they are present all year long. Even if I hold a door open on the 4th of July, it is still the same inspiration in Christ.

This recognition caused me to ask Claude Bjork to put “Keep Christmas All Year” on the Church sign. Like Scrooge, who promised to honor Christmas always, we can determine to let the light keep shining so that the love of God in Christ will always be visible, no matter the circumstance, no matter the time of year.

In addition, I plan to have some “Keep Christmas All Year” (KCAY) moments in the Tidings each month of 2012. These moments will take the form of stories about how and why many of the best known Christmas carols were written. As we hear these stories, may they remind us to live for God like it was Christmas Day, and do it all year long.

So, even when you take down your Christmas lights and decorations this year, plan to keep the light of God’s love shining through your life all through 2012.


Pastor Dan

Switch to mobile version