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Pastor Otten: Christmas begins on Dec. 25; it doesn't end there

By David Otten
Faith Lutheran Church, Eldorado
Posted on 12/27/2017, 1:00 AM

Merry Christmas from Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado. It is the third day of Christmas. I'm not sure how many people are still celebrating Christmas, but I fear for many that it ended on Dec. 26. It seems like after the 25th, Christmas music on the radio is gone, Christmas trees come down, and Valentine gifts replace Christmas gifts in the store.

We seem to think the Christmas season is from Black Friday to the 25th of December. We forget that the 25th is the first day of the 12 days of Christmas.

Does the commercial world really set the tone for what we do on Christmas, as opposed to the spiritual world? I can appreciate that the commercial world, for good or bad, punctuates the celebration of Christmas. I am aware that little will change in our Christmas customs in the near future, but I know that the poor will be with us always, and I still aid the poor. So, I am going to speak to some of the maladies of how our society celebrates Christmas.

• What we are celebrating seems to be more of a Black Friday celebration. How many people lined up and rushed to stores on Black Friday, compared to those who rushed into churches on Dec. 24 or 25?

• I find it interesting that radio stations, secular and Christian, start playing Christmas music on Black Friday, and stop on the second day of Christmas.

• Christmas appears to be only a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebration, when it actually goes for 12 days.

• Many take down their Christmas trees on Dec. 26.

• Even when I hear some (celebrities in many cases) talk about the real meaning of Christmas, it normally turns out to be giving to a special cause. I do believe we need to help many of these causes, but the real meaning of Christmas, as Linus from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" knows, is Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. He who is the Messiah has come into the world to bring salvation.

I realize we all can't take 12 days off to do nothing but celebrate. But I wish more of the Christmas celebration would happen during the 12 days of Christmas than before the 25th. I also know that at the beginning of our nation's history, celebrating Christmas was considered Catholic and un-Christian, so 12 days of Christmas has not been adopted by all. Yet most Christians now celebrate Jesus' birth.

Christmas is about Jesus, His birth, His coming to our world to bring salvation. I pray that is what colors our thinking, sets our priorities, and governs our time in the rest of this season, and not the ghost of Black Friday.

• DAVID OTTEN is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.

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