The elves are starting. Many parents do the elf on the shelf thing (Not me, Advent is busy, and we find them creepy although lots of parents do a good job) or even the kindness elves. Christmas flyers are being sent out, and of course retail has been talking Christmas forever
Tumblr is starting to look snowy
Technically, in my family, we aren’t supposed to listen to Xmas music til thanksgiving
And you have to watch Love Actually 6 weeks before Christmas, because that’s when the
movie starts……and that may be before Thanksgiving.
Then on thanksgiving we toast with Egg Nog and watch our first official Christmas movie–which is tricky to decide…. (My brother wants “Its a Wonderful Life” I like “Miracle on 34th” My one sister likes “Holiday Inn” My other sister likes “The Santa Clause” the kids prefer “The Grinch who Stole Christmas” the cartoon)
And we do celebrate St. Nick’s day on Dec. 6th where St. Nick leaves Candy in everyone’s shoes and a family game/movie in the holiday spirit……
Ok, lets be honest, we celebrate ALL MONTH LONG
I am all for surprises and delayed gratification, I love waiting for good things, and I like advent, but since I (and everyone else) is already planning Christmas…….I wonder if some year WE ought to just OWN Christmas at church the way retail does.
You know go all out
Start celebrating as soon as humanly possible
Tell the Christmas story five weeks in a row. Because there is always Way, way too much story to get through on Christmas Eve (and I always feel sad for the parts I miss)–Angels and Shepherds and Wise Men and Mary and Joseph (not to mention all those animals hanging around)….so many scriptural narratives to cover!!!
And there are so many good ways to tell the Christmas story, Velveteen Rabbit, The Littlest Angel, the Gift of the Magi, Miracle on 34th St, all the puppy and kitten present stories, the shepherds perspective, the drummer boy, the (three) wise men, the unexpected Christmas youtube video, the googlemaps version of Mary and Joseph’s journey, Charlie Brown & the Grinch, the advent conspiracy, the feeding of people on thankgiving, etc. etc. etc.
As someone in the Nextchurch Twitter discussion pointed out, we are celebrating Christ’s birth ALL THE TIME anyway.
Besides, not everyone may even know the Christmas Carols anymore (tears) maybe we should sing them on Sunday–I know the ambiant music never covers as many true hymns and carols as I want (Holly Jolly Christmas is fun, but First Noel speaks to me)
Maybe Advent is during the week and Christmas is every Sunday. (Hey, it works for Lent right?)
How would you take ownership if you starting celebrating Christmas after thanksgiving? How would it change how your church did mission that month? Could you tell the gospel in different ways? Are there lead-in activities that might make it more possible to engage and connect to the community? How about your stewardship campaign, if you directly tied it to Xmas could you do so in a good/GREAT way?
Seems to me that if we are to party people into the kingdom, great mission/storytelling and singing of Christmas is a great way to start….after all, who doesn’t love the candlelit service? Who doesn’t wish that this is how church feels all the time?
One of these years, I’m going all IN!
I like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & Winter Wonderland.
But…..I prefer Christmas Carols, possibly because they are so seldom played that they are not on the radio and retail venues everywhere…
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: This is not in my Presbyterian hymnal–it is also seriously undersung (ie its considered a carol but never included Christmas Eve and is only occasionally on the pop albums). Although the sexist words (ugh) the TAKE HEART lyrics make me super, super happy….
Away in the Manger: The other lullaby (you know not Silent Night), the second verse is my favorite…where I tend to change lowing to Mooing and “no crying” to lotsa crying (because that’s what makes sense, Jesus was fully human after all).
Hark the Herald Angels Sing: reconciliation and healing in his wings…..maybe my favorite carol…….maybe
Angels We Have Heard On High: GLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
The First Noel: I love, love, love the melody of this
What Child Is This?: um…a carol that asks a million questions—feels genuine to me!
Good King Wenceslas: I don’t actually know all the words to this, yet when people are caroling in movies this is what they sing (perhaps because it feels all medieval)
Ding Dong Merrily On High: played somewhat on the radio (must not be too Christian), it sounds like bells. I’m kind of Meh about it….the tune is fun, but I guess it isn’t ingrained in my bones the way other carols are.
O Come All Ye Faithful: Love the invitational message of this song (always sing it during Advent, notice that this can also totally be an advent song?)
O Little Town of Bethlehem: A great tune sung by pop artists because of its beauty…..not so singable for congregations although well known enough we can fake it 🙂
Carol of the Bells: Perhaps the replacement for Ding, Dong Merrily on High?, the words are mood are similar. I definitely like the tune of this better….
Good Christian Men Rejoice: Very similar to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, a little sexist, but deep lyrics “need not fear the grave” and lots of rejoicing.
Wassail: Simple, repetitive, yet really full of Christmas caroling spirit
O Come, O Come Emmanuel: Yay! Advent mysteriousness!
O Holy Night: BEAUTIFUL, wish we didn’t confine this to soloists….everyone has a right to belt this out, off key and all!
Silent Night: Candlelight, love the 2nd verse…I always raise my candle for the “love’s true light” verse…there’s a mysterious, random fourth verse that no one sings (and I actually do feel its useless)
Joy to the World: YAY! The other alternative for ending the Christmas Eve Service….not that we ever do…but it totally could and of course….its not necessarily just a Christmas song
Christmastime is Here: Wish we adopted this as a carol we sing in church…the message is sound, and maybe if church’s sang newer beautiful songs, then….well we wouldn’t have saved the church, but our Christmas Eve will be richer for it (yes Charlie Brown)
Welcome Christmas: Ditto, “Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores” words so carol sounding, people tried to translate it……….(yes its Grinch)
I Need a Silent Night: The very new Amy Grant Song……self-references carols, def. worth checking it out.
First off, I love my advent calendar this year, it is animals as the manger scene and often the door opens up to a song cue (I mean how cool is that). However, Mary is a Cat, Joseph is a Dog and Jesus is a mouse. I find this theologically hilarious! This must mean God is a mouse. YEESSSS!