Every year I seem to find myself less and less in the "Christmas Spirit". At least, less in the Christmas Spirit as others might see it to be. This year, retailers seem to be pushing the commercial end of the "holiday" with advertising before Halloween. The big push for Black Friday. The annoying Walmart and Target Black Friday ads. All this has seemed to drive out of me any desire to "celebrate" this particular Holiday. I don't even feel excited about decorating or shopping for gifts!
So, when I get in this state of mind, I fall upon two very reliable means of getting me back into the "true" Spirit of Christmas: reading Dicken's "A Christmas Carol", and listening to very specific Christmas music.
There's something about Dicken's story that intrigues me more each time I read it. I find that more and more I wish for a "Dickensian" Christmas, one where Advent (the Christian preparation for the coming of the Christ Child) is important. A Christmas where the gifts are NOT the focus, but the entire "season", which lasts from Christmas Day to Epiphany on the 6th of January. Where the tree goes up and the decorating is done ON Christmas Eve, not 4 weeks or more in advance. A Christmas where you attend church on that day because, well, because it IS Christmas. And you celebrate each "Day of Christmas" with joy and gifts. That actually IS the "traditional" Christmas that we see in Dicken's story. And when Scrooge is redeemed of his old ways, he recognizes that Christmas is about the Spirit of the day, not the commercialism that even then was rampant. So, today, rather than decorate, I'd prefer to read "A Christmas Carol", or watch a Christmas movie, to help get the true Spirit of Christmas going.
For me, having sung for so many years in church and professional choirs, music and Christmas are powerfully linked, to the point that I MUST listen to certain pieces of music that echo that true Spirit of Christmas. So, now, at work, at home, and in my car, music is playing, and I am humming or singing or just listening to the joyous sounds, or the contemplative reminders, of what Christmas is about.
So, Merry Christmas!