My name is Carol and I am a Christmas-aholic.
Now … before you start to throw rotten pine cones at me or shout tirades that begin with “Bah, humbug!”, allow me to explain.
I just love Christmas. I love the season. I love the wonder and the meaning.
I love the joy that only happens at Christmas.
I love it that the entire world stops to celebrate! Oh … I know … many of them celebrate erroneously or don’t even understand what they are celebrating … but don’t you see?! The ripples of Christmas are so enormous that it touches every part of humanity.
I am amazed that God left eternity and entered into time because of His great love for me. I stand at the manger in humility and in gratitude that Christmas actually happened.
I wish I had been there to hear the angels sing … to see the shepherd’s dance … to ask Mary if I could hold her Baby. I wish that I could have kissed His sweet face and smelled His breath … so fresh from heaven!
Christmas is just too miraculous … too eternal … and too significant … to confine it to one calendar month.
The best part of Christmas to me has always been the music. I ache when I listen to the soaring melodies and the simple tunes that celebrate the intrinsic hope of this season.
I have loved the music of Christmas since I was a young and impressionable girl growing up in the snowy December days of Western New York. I couldn’t wait for the day after Thanksgiving when most radio stations would begin to play Christmas music.
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … everywhere you go!”
“The first Noel … the angel did say … was to certain poor shepherd’s in fields as they lay.”
“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas … just like the ones I used to know.”
The only time my family ever indulged in buying the iconic TV Guide was during the first week in December so we could track all of the Christmas specials for the season. I would mark it down on the family blackboard in the kitchen.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – December 4 – 7 p.m. – Channel 7
The King Family Christmas Special – December 12 – 8 p.m. – Channel 7
The Andy Williams Christmas Show – December 13 – 8 p.m. – Channel 4
Frosty The Snowman – December 19 – 7 p.m. – Channel 2
But certainly the most exciting part of the Christmas season for me was preparing for the Christmas concerts at school and at church.
I actually was allowed to sing Christmas Carols in September and in October! While the football team was still sweating and the leaves were barely beginning to change, I was learning the alto line for “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire!”
Oh!! The delight of Christmas music!
When other teen-agers were at home on Wednesday evenings watching the season opener of “Hawaii-5-0” with their parents, I was at church sitting in the choir loft belting out with my whole heart, ‘Oh Come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee.”
And, on Saturday mornings, when other high school students were sleeping late or shopping at the mall, I was at church rehearsing with the Cherub Choir as they belted out, “Come On Ring Those Bells! Light the Christmas Tree!” with every ounce of exuberance in their little lungs.
Oh! The delight of Christmas music!!
And so, when I was in college, I made a determination. Christmas music is too extraordinary to be enjoyed for only 5 weeks a year. I was going to extend the season of holly-jolly … joyful and triumphant … and glistening tree-tops for 3 glorious months. October 1 became my first official day of Christmas music season!
I didn’t really care if no one else sang along. I would sing alone but I would sing!
“Oh, tidings of comfort and joy!”
“Let earth receive her King!”
“Sleep in heavenly peace.”
And then, I had a baby of my own. As I held my first son in my arms, I began to sing to him … and what came out of my heart?! Why … it was the melodies of Christmas, of course!
“Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay, close by me forever and love me, I pray!”
“Have yourself a merry, little Christmas!”
“When you’re worried and you can’t sleep … just count your blessings instead of sheep!”
And in that moment of new birth, and love overflowing, I realized that from this day forward, the McLeod family song would henceforth and forever be, “”I’ll be home for Christmas … you can count on me!”
Every year without pause or interruption, October 1 has started with the call to come home for Christmas. When the children were still at home, we listened to the familiar lyrics at the breakfast table on the first day of the 10th month of the year.
“Please have snow and mistletoe and presents round the tree!”
And as the McLeod offspring began to leave the proverbial nest, they received a phone call at 7 a.m. every year on October 1 …
“Christmas Eve will find me, where the love light gleams!”
I wanted to remind them of the joy of Christmas and of the delight of celebrating with those you love the most and know the best.
I also wanted to ensure each of the 5 McLeod children that there was always a place in my heart and in my home for them no matter how old they had grown … no matter where life had taken them … and no matter how many little McLeod’s they now brought with them.
“I’ll be home for Christmas … if only in my dreams!”
I don’t know how you feel about Christmas music … or the Christmas season … or about how early the celebration should begin in your home … but let me remind you that something so extraordinary happened at Christmas that nothing about life should ever be the same again.
Some things are worth celebrating for more than just a day … or more than just a month … and Christmas is one of those things!
Build a holiday season for your family that is laid upon the foundation of faith, hope and joy.
Create a Christmas atmosphere for those that you love that is centered on the manger … the eternity … and the music of Christmas.
And know that come early the morning of October 1, I will be listening to the joy and the heart of this miraculous season as I listen to the melodies of Christmas!
Merry Christmas, my friends! Let there be joy! Let there be music! Let there be Christmas!