My name is Carol, and I am a non-ashamed 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 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 and far-reaching that they touch literally every part of humanity.
I am amazed that God left eternity and entered into time because of His great love for me.
I stand quietly at the manger every month of the calendar year with tears running down my cheeks 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 in this paradigm known as “time.”
Christmas is eternal and cannot … must not … be limited by the measuring stick that we as humans identify as “time.”
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 shepherds 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.
At the rehearsals for these annual and celebratory events, I was actually 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 unmatched delight of Christmas music!
When other teenagers 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 shouted, with just a bit of warble in their young voices, “Come On Ring Those Bells! Light the Christmas Tree!” There was certainly exuberance in their little lungs but not much melody.
Oh! The miraculous delight of Christmas music!!
When I was in college, I made an audacious determination, as only the inexperienced can do. I decided that Christmas music is too extraordinary to be enjoyed for only five weeks a year. I knew, in that moment of youthful enthusiasm, that part of my calling in life was to extend the season of holly-jolly … joyful and triumphant … and glistening tree-tops for three glorious months.
From my college days forward, October 1 became the 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!”
In that moment of new birth and novice motherhood with love overflowing out of my heart and down my cheeks, I realized that from this day forward, the McLeod family song with 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 10thmonth 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 five 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 … the Christmas season … or 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 on this side of heaven will ever be the same again.
Some events are so pervasive that they are worth celebrating for more than just a day … or more than just a month … and Christmas is one of those extraordinary events.
Let me invite you to build a holiday season for your family that is laid upon the foundation of faith, hope, and joy.
Remember to create a Christmas atmosphere for those that you love that is centered on the manger … eternity … and the music of Christmas.
I am listening to the joy and the heart of this miraculous season as I wrap the melodies of Christmas around my heart that lives in time but were made for eternity.
Merry Christmas, my friends!
Let there be joy!
Let there be music!
Let there be Christmas!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Carol McLeod Ministries