When does Christmastime start for you? We’ve all experienced that in the commercial world, the Christmas season starts the day after Halloween. In the music universe, the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving–when some radio stations switch to Christmas programming.

When does it start for you? When does the Christmas spirit become real for you? When do you allow yourself to get in the Christmas mood?

Is there a particular day or event? Is there a movie that makes it happen? I would argue that the Christmas season most likely begins when we join with others in preparation–whenever or wherever that may be.

As our Unwrap the Meaning of Christmas Tour began in Fairview Heights, Illinois, on November 25, 2018, I personally was not feeling very Christmas-y. The weather wasn’t right. I hadn’t done some of the proper Christmas preparations. We don’t have a decorated tree in our home. I haven’t purchased a single gift. I’m waiting to put together my Christmas play lists–don’t want to do over do it, after all. But when I joined together with a bunch of people who simply wanted to celebrate the good feelings of the season–and what inspires those good feelings–I was inspired, too.

I believe the inspiration spread. It spread not because there was snow on the ground (there wasn’t) or a dry nip in the air (none of that either). It spread because the good people who joined us for this first stop of the tour wanted others to encounter peace and joy. That was truly a tangible reminder of what it is that we actually celebrate at Christmas–that God entered the world so that humanity may further experience peace and joy. So these people smiled, they shared, and they sang. And in so doing they inspired a spirit for the season.

Perhaps the season begins when we join in celebrating with others, because those are the events that inspire us with peace and joy.

Peace and joy to you. And thank you to our new, inspiring friends at Christ Church, Shiloh United Methodist Church, O’Fallon First United Methodist, and St Matthew United Methodist.