A People Out Of Time
“O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, Wie treu sind deine Blätter!“ O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how loyal are your needles (a literal translation of the German)! Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? Traditionally, Christmas trees went up on Christmas Eve and stayed up for the 12 days of Christmas. These days though, family traditions hold sway. Rev. Jill and I put up our tree on the weekend after Thanksgiving. That is the earliest we have ever done it. After the ravages of 2020, it seemed like we needed to start the Christmas cheer early this year.
There is a valid point to be made, however, about not having your tree up too early. Prior to Christmas Eve we are in the season of Advent. It is a season of anticipation, not celebration. The festive nature of a Christmas tree is out of step with the intent of Advent. That does not stop us from putting it up in our homes though...mine included.
I used to think there was a dissonance in having your Christmas tree up at home but being firmly in Advent at church. It struck me as a lack of harmony; a siloization that was clearly inferior to living harmoniously across all areas of our lives.
These days, with a few more laps around the sun on my body's odometer and many more gray hairs on my head, I've changed my mind. As followers of Christ, we do not only live in the present moment. We live in the past, present, and future...all at the same time.
We proclaim this in a myriad of ways. To pick just one, consider what we affirm as we prepare to receive Holy Eucharist: Christ HAS died. Christ IS risen. Christ WILL come again. We are a people who have a touchpoint with this world in this moment, but the fullness of ourselves is outside of this time and not of this place.
So enjoy your Christmas tree at home while you live out Advent at church. Heck, hang an Easter egg on your tree if you want...although I'd prefer you find an empty tomb ornament...but that's a story for another day. Blessings my friends.