I'm quite sure I first noticed it in August.

Posted on December 31, 2021.

I'm quite sure I first noticed it in August. I didn't get a photo, but there I was, in Hobby Lobby and I know I saw down one of the aisles—Christmas stuff! Decorations and the makings of nice-smelling crafts, at least. I remember thinking that they must've beaten even Walmart to the punch. But no, these aren't your usual mercenary types trying to beat the competition into the pockets of the consumer. This company has enough respect for Christianity that they play actual Christian music (hymns, even) and give their employees Sunday off. And yet they prosper. I don't have a source at Hobby Lobby Central, but logic suggests that they actually want to encourage people to think about Christmas long before December 25, at least in décor.
But of course, Christmas is about vastly more than just the decorations. That's a bit like saying that a computer-bound, 128-pound young man could compete in professional football simply by putting on a uniform! Not only absurd—it's dangerous! Hobby Lobby’s preparation for the Christmas season success started many months ahead of time. Maybe a year ahead. And this got me thinking. Will the church of Jesus Christ prepare the way to celebrate the REAL Messiah so that the world around us may know that he came to set everyone free from sin?
And that's why getting spiritually ready ahead of Christmas is important, we need to understand just what we're celebrating. It is not about the decorations or the gifts. It's not about family. It's not about a cute little baby, really. It's not about giving, even. In order to celebrate Christmas, we need a clear concept that what we're celebrating is the gift that the crucified and Risen man, Jesus, has offered to all humanity—Salvation.
Basic stuff to the Christmas-seasoned Christian, but non-believers may be a bit surprised to hear this information in our culture that's so self-satisfied and ignorant of the REAL story. And of their own REAL need for salvation and freedom from sin and death. The good news is that in the Christmas season, these same unknowing folks are far more open to hearing the REAL purpose of Christmas.
So, sing REAL Christmas songs. Read the REAL Christmas story. Go ahead, Say Merry Christmas! (Sometimes I say the British “Happy Christmas”. because I've seen people stop and think when they hear something different.) Invite people to our Christmas Eve sing & service! Pray to have opportunities to tell folks why you celebrate—and for the words to tell them. Remember, this is about God giving power when needed, not about being perfect all by our lonesomes.
If people in your community are open to celebrating Christmas more than any other holiday throughout the year, how will you make use of this fact for the good of Jesus’ kingdom? What plans are you making now to reach out to those in your community? Are you actively making prayerful preparation for your own celebration and that others would accept Jesus as Savior throughout the Advent season? Apparently, if Hobby Lobby is any indication, you really can't start too soon! Pastor Geoff                                                                                                                                     For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.                             John 3:16