That means it's not Christmas.....despite what everybody and everything around us wants to assert!
And I know that there are very good practical reasons why our tree is up (and looking good!!) and why our first carol service has happened, and all the rest of the not-quite-liturgically-correct stuff. And that's fine. We are Baptists, after all; one of our earliest churches was started by a woman who kept her shop open on Christmas day in order to demonstrate that she was free from the false restrictions placed on people's lives by a state-controlled church.
Which raises an interesting point for me. Not that we should not celebrate Christmas, nor that we experience a state controlled church as limiting our freedoms; but how much our reaction to this season, and indeed, the times and ways we celebrate it, are shaped by the over-arching and unquestioned (and indeed, not easily questionable!) dominating narrative of our community. It's not the state controlled church that shapes our lives - but it is the culture and assumptions of capitalist, consumerist post-modernism.
Of course, we cannot live untouched by the culture we are part of - and nor should we; we are called to be the people of God here and now - and that means here and now, in this world as it really is, not as we fantasise about it.
But the example of Dorothy Hazzard in the 17th century might give us pause; what would it look like to live and present living our faith "non-conformingly"?
What does a nonconformist Advent look like? What might we no conform to? What assumptions and affirmations offered by our wider community might we choose to dissent from?