Christmas seems to be filling in the dark and dull cracks and crevices of the world with all the bright and splashy colours of hope, promise and good cheer before we have even flipped the calendar page over to December.
What’s up with that?
I drove into my subdivision the other day and there was my neighbor’s house, not looking all black and lonely like mine, but lit up like a Christmas tree.
Holy cow! Needless to say I was shocked.
Wasn’t it just Halloween yesterday?
Anyway, there was a Christmas wreath on the door and all around the outside of the roof, blue lights twinkled, almost like they were saying, “look at us, look at us, look how we sparkle.”
I sent my neighbor a text of reprimand, suggesting that she might be a bit of a show off! She texted me back some cute little text about how I was not keeping up with Joneseses.
Bah Humbug, I thought, grumpily.
A few days later I noticed the yard of her neighbor on the other side and another neighbor across the street were also definitely lit up.
It all spelled ‘CHRISTMAS’ in no uncertain terms.
I slunk home in shame, hiding my car in the garage and sneaking in the inside door. It’s true. I am ashamed. It’s almost like running out of candy at Halloween, for goodness sake.
On the other hand, it does seem a bit early, doesn’t it?
But all kidding aside, seeing the houses and yards decorated in such a festive manner, did evoke a certain amount of guilt in my brain. The guilt, however, didn’t manifest itself into any sort of action other than to lie on the couch and lose myself in a Christmas special. It was comforting, somehow to watch other people’s lives flash across the screen. People who were worried and frazzled about getting it all done. People who were not, in any way, shape or form, keeping up with the Joneses.
I read somewhere that listening to Christmas music too early can also cause needless stress, worry and guilt.
When the lilting refrains of age old songs like ‘Silent Night’ or ‘Joy to the World’ drift down the aisles shoppers may find themselves impulsively buying gifts they had no intention of buying when they first came into the store.
The music, beautiful as it is, can serve as a jolt of reality and a reminder that there are only so many shopping days left.
It’s kind of scary.
On the flip side, however, I would not want to think about a world where some mean old Scrooge came along and stole Christmas. A world where there was no Christmas music, no decorations, no harried, stressed shoppers and no presents under the tree.
It is true it can be a season where the gifts of joy, giving, good cheer and all the other positives can be overshadowed by sadness, loneliness, grief and a ridiculous amount of stress.
But, still, the Christmas season and all it stands for truly is as perennial as the grass and serves as a gentle reminder of all that is good in the world.
Sometimes it is true, the good gets buried under the huge mountains of stuff life throws at us.
But, one thing I know for sure.
This weekend I will be sure my outside lights twinkle and shine and shout, “Merry Christmas,” back at neighbors.
And as much as I suspect that the saying, ‘keeping up with the Joneses could be somewhat true for me, I also know that the Christmas lights truly are a wonderful, sparkling reminder that it’s that time of year again.
And, that has to be a good thing.
It has to be a very good thing, because as the song says, “We Need A Little Christmas!”