I can remember the days when decorating for Christmas was a relatively simple affair – a lighted tree, a wreath on the front door, candles in the windows. That was pretty much it. Nowadays, it has become quite the affair with the aforementioned decorations accompanied by a host of other seasonal props. There are now companies you can call who will do your decorating for you, from stringing lights on your rooftop to arranging illumined reindeer on your lawn.
This year I’ve seen a proliferation of something I hadn’t noticed much of before, the Christmas “blow up” decoration. Maybe it’s just my neighborhood, but the front yards around our house are overrun this year with decorations that their owners inflate with electrified air to give them a bouncy dimension. I can remember when you might see a Santa and his reindeer or a Frosty the Snowman inflatable. But now you can see characters from other children’s stories all the way from “Marshall” on Paw Patrol to “Princess Elsa” on Frozen. The possibilities are limitless.
At first I wasn’t necessarily taken with what seemed to be a collision of worlds with these newfangled decorations. What business, after all, does “Thomas the Train” have in a Christmas display? Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all of this “cross pollination” of favorite childhood characters with the familiar ones of the season very well could be a way of bringing together the good news of Christmas with the characters beloved by children the rest of the year. And what harm is in that? Christmas is a message that ought to be “blown up” as much as possible and in as many ways as possible so that everyone might be able to join in with all of the joy and celebration this holiday holds.
As for our church, we of course have our own way of “blowing up” Christmas. Our Living Nativity will take place on the nights of December 20-22, when we will invite our community to join with us as we represent the story of Christmas through the familiar characters of Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and angels, and, most importantly, the baby Jesus. Pray with me now that our witness will be one that conveys the breath of God and that those who observe it will feel inspired in their own hearts, so much so that they think more seriously about and live more faithfully toward the wondrous news that never disappoints.
"Now when they (the shepherds) had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled…” (Luke 2:17-18).