There is a sweet, tiny Nativity that I keep on my kitchen windowsill. It stays there all year long. The reason I put it there is because the kitchen is my first stop after getting out of bed every morning. I can look at it as my coffee is brewing. Honestly, it helps me on many mornings when my attitude is less than positive or when I am going through a hard time. I can clean the kitchen and it serves as a reminder that Jesus is always near.
As a fairly pragmatic person, I have never been one to put up Christmas decorations early and I do not watch Hallmark Christmas movies. Oh, I have tried! And I absolutely understand the concept behind these movies. There is always a happy ending and sometimes we need an escape from the otherwise stressful realities of life. If I am truthful, I have to admit that I may have chuckled a time or two when people talk about decorating early or watching these movies. But this year is different.
Riding down Market Street in Pascagoula a week ago, I found myself looking at signs of Christmas everywhere. Never mind that the weather was unseasonably warm. Someone outside Nelson’s Outdoors was hanging Christmas lights. Out of the corner of my eye I spied the glimmer of Christmas mesh adorning the front door of The Menagerie. And on Ingalls Avenue, the tell-tell sign that the Christmas tree lot was about to open were the white string lights hanging in the front of the lot. We had not even eaten turkey, and all signs pointed to Christmas.
When I think about all the early signs of Christmas, I usually get a little jaded. I am personally guilty of stressing and making it less about the birth of the Savior than all the trappings that go along with it. But this year I am trying instead to view these signs as a reminder that Jesus is always near. Christmas is not just a day. Christmas is an attitude. A reason to celebrate…all year long.