My first Old-fashioned Christmas!

That title sounds so romantic, like lots of family, keeping warm by the fireplace, family-favorite Christmas cookies and treats, snow coming down on Christmas Eve.

No, that would just be an old-fashioned Christmas with happy memories.

How my old-fashioned Christmas began this year was by looking for and getting the Christmas tree on Christmas-eve day. While decorating the tree, we listened to the Christmas-song channel on television for “almost” the first time for the season.

Now, I wish this had been a deliberate decision to wait for Christmas to celebrate Christmas, but truthfully, it was just that I was too busy and tired to get ready earlier.

But this is how Christians are to celebrate Christmas! During Advent we are to be preparing our hearts to meet Christ who was coming. Advent (approximately four weeks before Christmas) is the time of waiting in anticipation for Christ’s coming, not yet celebrating His coming. The readings for the four Sundays are Old-Testament prophetic readings about the coming Messiah.

The secular world, however, has us celebrating Christmas from Thanksgiving to Christmas night. Even the Christian radio channel stops playing Christmas music December 26. In their defense, that’s when they begin playing their regular Christian music, perhaps because they’re celebrating that he has come. But they too begin playing the holiday music right after Thanksgiving.

The main point I’m trying to make is that we don’t stop celebrating Christmas on December 26! In fact, “The 12 Days of Christmas” begin at Christmas—the song’s title is not The 12 Days before Christmas.

If you’re a Catholic Christian, the tradition is to leave the tree and all things Christmas up through the celebration of Christ’s baptism. This year that will be January 9.

From Christmas on, we get to hear the readings about the Shepherds, the Three Wise Men, and sadly, because of Herod’s fear and jealousy, the massacre of all baby boys near Bethlehem, the escape of the Holy Family to Egypt, and their safe return to Israel after Herod’s death.

It was always hard for me to keep Christmas decorations up through the first week or two of January. But since I didn’t put the tree up until December 24, it has been no problem. In fact, I have enjoyed plugging in the lights each night through January.

I thank the Main Street Program of Victoria for having our town Christmas tree and all the square’s decorations still shining brightly. If you live in Victoria, Texas, and have not come to the square to see the tree with its changing lights and music every half hour, hurry up and do so! They’re fabulous!

Merry Christmas!