I have done something positively scandalous!  It’s completely new for me – never tried it before – and I think I like it!  Don’t judge me, now.  I can explain.  So, wondering what I did?  I put the Christmas Tree up in the first week of November.  Shock.  Horror. Now, I know what you’re thinking.  She’s completely lost her mind.  This might be true but I believe I can totally justify myself so don’t give up on me yet!  I’ve just decided that it’s time to take the ‘silly’ out of the Season, and this led me to making a few different choices this year. I really love Christmas.  These celebrations have been such special times in our lives.  We’ve absolutely had some I would rather forget – like the year we lost my mum.  Not a good year. Yet Christmas has remained a very important moment on the landscape of our family, primarily because we all know what it is really about. “For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end..” (Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV)
 My zeal for Christmas arises from the deep sense of wonder and gratitude that come with an understanding of what the birth of Jesus did for humanity.  It is an act of worship to decorate and plan the menu and carefully choose gifts.  And I want to stay in that zone for the whole season – not succumb to the frenzy and anxiety that seem to accompany the end of the year.  I can do the stress thing like it’s nobody’s business – I’m no saint in that department – but my years have finally given me a calmer perspective.  So, this year, I’m taking a different approach to making it a richer, more meaningful, and less crazy tradition.  Which leads me to the reason I cracked open the Nutcrackers and installed the Christmas tree in the first week of November!  Right off the bat, I’m trying to address the idea that everything has to be perfect.  Traditions are made to serve families, not families made to serve traditions!  They should be flexible and allowed to evolve.  My family is growing and dispersing and part of other families now.  I’m finding moments on the calendar that work for us and not trying to make my family work to a calendar!  Most of this month – and certainly the next – is chock-a-block with activity.  So, the first week of November suddenly looked like the most logical window to dig out the decorations!  And, because of that, it got the wheel turning on where everyone was going to be, and who was going to be in the Secret Santa draw, and all that stuff that works better with a bit of forethought! I’m already feeling about 64% less stressed!  That’s a lot of silly to take out of the equation!  While I’m trying to take the silly out, I’m also making sure I keep the good stuff in.  Our whole family will be involved in presenting the Christmas Story to our community this year in The Nativity.  It’s one of the reasons the next few weeks will be particularly full.  But it’s incredibly meaningful to find a way to serve others and magnify Jesus in the process.  It’s part of sharing the wonder.  Because Christmas is truly a miracle.  It changed everything.  And I want to continually foster a heart full of adoration for a baby that became my Saviour. The baking will be minimal this year, and I doubt I’ll get to the family Christmas card (might make it an Easter tradition instead), but it will be rich in ways that really matter.  May your Christmas season be underscored with the same sweet, awe-filled worship of a King born in a stable.