There seems to be one question that pops up around this time every year. You see it all over social media and it can be hotly debated between friends. That question being ‘When is it appropriate to start playing Christmas music?’
Can you start listening to Christmas music from the 1st of November? Or do you have to wait until the 1st of December? Is it when the school holidays start? Or is it in the 12 days leading up to the 25th of December? Everyone has their different opinions. For many people, the playing of Christmas music comes at the same time decorations appear in shopping centres. With that comes the dread of all that needs to be done before Christmas; the shopping, the preparing, the end of year functions. Very quickly this time of year can become just one long to-do-list that gets longer and longer.
At Lindfield this year the answer to that perennial question is that the Christmas music has started early. In RE classes this term we’ve started exploring Christmas and it’s meaning for us today. And in Chapel we’ve begun our own period of Advent with plenty of Christmas Carols.
Advent is the period in the Christian calendar that is the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Traditionally in Churches the four Sundays before Christmas are part of Advent and allows Christians to spend some time reflecting on the Christmas story and its impact today. It gives people that chance to explore the meaning of Christmas and to spiritually prepare for this important time in the Christian year.
This year Advent starts on the 2nd of December. For us in schools this poses a little bit of a problem because by the time Advent properly starts we’ll basically be winding down. Which is why, at Lindfield, we’re having our Advent period in November.
Although, our Advent time doesn’t fall within this proper Christian calendar the message behind it is the same. The next four weeks in Chapel and RE will provide the boys with the opportunity to hear again the Christmas story in the Bible and to explore different elements of the story each week. This period of preparation before Christmas means that the boys can see what Christmas means for them today.
Yet, this period of preparation before Christmas is important for all of us. It can be so easy at this time of year to slip into the ‘to do list mode’ where we just focus on everything that needs to get done. But that means that we miss the point of the Season; the birth of a little baby that changed the world bringing with him a message of love, acceptance and peace for all.
I hope that when you start to hear Christmas music over the radio and see the decorations springing up in the stores that you see it as a sign to pause and prepare. Possibly a chance to reflect or pray instead of a sign of all that needs to be done. In the lead up to Christmas my hope is that you can find some time in the frenetic pace of the season to prepare to hear again the Christmas story.