This Night Should Be Every Night

24 Dec

“It’s Christmas Eve!  It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be.”  ~ Bill Murray

I’m sure you’ve noticed people at this time of the year.  Have you noticed how they are generally happier?  How they laugh easier?  How they greet others, even strangers, more freely?  How they give of themselves to others?  How they are willing to wait for others to receive what they need first?  This is a magical time of the year when we become a different people, a better people, and, sadly, a temporary people.

Because one thing is certain.  While there might be an undefined “grace period” where those kind and positive actions are exhibited on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, most people get “back to normal” shortly after Christmas.  The joy of the day is short-lived for many.  They become surly and uncooperative once again.

Why do we change for a couple of hours, as Murray notes, when the positive, cheerful, friendly person is what we’ve “always hoped we would be?”  What keeps us from being that person for the rest of the year and the rest of our lives?  I have a theory.

My theory, quite simply, is this:  Advent is over.  Some people did the things they did because they were “requirements” of the season of Advent.  However, when they entered the season, they did not do so in order to change.  They merely did so because it was expected of them.  It was what everyone else was doing.  It was just a part of this time of the year.

If that is the attitude adopted, then when Christmas arrives, Advent is a thing of the past and the Advent practices and virtues get put into the drawers and closets for another year.  We may have thought that we met the expectations of Advent but we would be wrong because the expectation of Advent is that we are a changed people by Christmas and not the same people.

You have worked, maybe very hard, this Advent in order to come to this point in time.  Are you going to let the work of the season be for naught?  Or will you, instead, allow the work of this season to change you, to make you a better person, a new person in Christ/

FAITH ACTION:  Consider making a promise to yourself that you will treat people nicer, smile easier, and spread cheer better every day and not just at this time of the year.