A Deliberate Choice
My old Lutheran upbringing is going to show through here, but I think we miss an awful lot when we dive right into our "Christmas celebrations" without any type of preparation. I heard of one evangelical mega-church that had one of its gigantic "Christmas" events on the Sunday night before Thanksgiving this year.
As Dr. Bauder points out, God's people in Israel longed and waited for the Messiah for hundreds of years before He came. The church historically remembered this redemptive drama as a means of preparing for Christmas, and our forefathers in the faith left us a rich hymnody in this regard. To ignore all of that and jump right into Christmas is a bit like having a blowout celebration of Easter Sunday without first pausing to remember--and weep--on Good Friday and Palm Sunday. This is all the more true--and Advent is all the more necessary--in a culture, and a church culture, that has become Biblically illiterate.
Then, to add insult to injury, much even of what passes for "Christmas" in evangelicalism is merely a by-product of the secular "Christmas season" or, at best, a Santa-friendly type of promotion that is intended to "engage the culture." For instance, many Christian radio stations now mix secular Christmas music with religious music (making themselves almost indistinguishable from secular stations) and hold off on playing hardly any "traditional" or "sacred" music until Christmas Eve.
Thanks, Dr. Bauder, for a great reminder of how we should be spending this month.
The views I express are purely my own. However, I am happy to promote the great ministries with which I work: I minister for www.SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb. I do freelance writing for www.RegularBaptistPress.org. I speak through www.IMISOS.org.