‘Tis always the season
“Christmas time is here, families drawing near. Oh, that we could always see such spirit through the year.” This lyric from Vince Guaraldi Trio dates back to 1965 and the first showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s one of my favorite Christmas songs from a favorite Christmas program.
The sentiment in this verse speaks of the joy, comfort, and closeness we feel with our families over the holidays. There are so many traditions around food, decorations, gift-giving, and movie-watching, and these experiences bring us together and help us celebrate. Added to these are the spiritual rituals like Advent calendars, St. Nicholas shoes, Posada celebrations, Nativity scenes, and Christmas Mass.
Reflecting on this lyric got me wondering why it’s hard to have the closeness we feel around Thanksgiving and Christmas all year long. I imagine there are a variety of reasons, one of which is intentionality. The holidays have a lot of traditions that come along with them and we make sure we don’t miss any of them.
There are movies we never miss, be that A Christmas Story, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, It’s Wonderful Life, or the prolific spate of Hallmark Christmas movies begging for a family marathon with cocoa and marshmallows.
There are traditions around trimming the tree and decorating the house, preparing particular foods, and let’s not forget about the Christmas carols that some people start listening to when they turn off the porch light on Halloween night.
Each of these (and many other) traditions we painstakingly make sure happen. In other words, we are intentional about how we celebrate these holidays. But the rest of the year we are somewhere between lackadaisical to clueless when it comes to being intentional with our families. Once Jan. 2 hits, we are back to the normal routine.
Imagine for a moment what it would be like if our families had a monthly game night, or a standing weekly dinner that everyone made a priority, or an evening ritual of lighting a candle and saying a few prayers. If our families are separated by distance we can schedule video calls, send cards for birthdays and anniversaries, send surprise gifts through the mail, or just send random texts. Simple, intentional things like this can foster the spirit we feel during the Christmas season, in all the seasons of the year.
The celebrations around the birth of Jesus are special mostly because we are celebrating the coming of our Savior. Yet sadly even the sacredness of this truth can too often be packed up and stored away with our decorations in the attic until the next year. Somehow, we can forget that Jesus, and His mercy, is born anew each day.
Taking time each day, even just a couple of moments, to remember that God loves us so much that He came to earth as a little child, lived, suffered, died, and rose again for us, can bring the joy of Christmas to us every day.
The truth, beauty, and goodness of Christmas is not confined to just one season. With a little planning, a little focus, and a little intentionality, we can find that Christmas time is here all through the year.