Keep Christ in Christmas!

MerryHallowHappyChrsitmasWeen! This seems to be what has occurred this year. Before Halloween was over, we were all ready for Christmas. Don't hear what I am not saying, please. Our best friends absolutely LOVE Christmas. They love to decorate. They love the times with family and friends. They love to give gifts to folks as an expression of their love and appreciation for them; there is nothing wrong with that. I love Christmas, too.

I fear, however, that we have lost what Christmas is to be. I fear that we, the Jesus people, have exchanged the beauty of Christmas and have become the Mammon people. We completely pass over Thanksgiving. We forget that we are to thank God for each of the many blessings that we enjoy. We should take Thanksgiving as a time to spend enjoying our families and friends. Instead we make Thanksgiving Day more of "Thanksgiving Afternoon"--to borrow a term from Michael Slaughter. Not only do we shorten the time that we get to spend with our families; we make it impossible for folks who work in the service industries to spend with their families. The other day I was remembering that my mom often cooked holiday meals the night before the holiday. I was thinking it was because she always cooked SO much food. But when I went further back into the memory bank, I was reminded that was not the only reason. You see, my mom worked in the service industry as a cook. She often had to cook the day before because she was required to work on Thanksgiving day. These folks do not get the opportunity to spend the times with their families because we really *must* get one of the twenty 32" televisions that will go on sale on Black Thursday.

Am I saying that we should not shop for gifts? No. I am suggesting that we, the Jesus people, take a long look at our part in the commercialization of Christmas. I really cannot be annoyed or surprised by folks who do not claim to be a Christian indulging in the God of this nation: materialism (Mammon) but when we are complicit I think we should pause and check ourselves. I am suggesting that when we do give gifts and shop we never allow that to overshadow the incredible miracle of Jesus. Jesus. This God-man who--as we profess--left his celestial home to descend into this (in comparison) hellhole we call earth. This guy, Jesus, came so that we might be reconciled to God. Jesus. The miracle descended so that we might have hope from our despair. Jesus came so that the most lonely and depraved person might know that he or she is someone worth dying for. On this day we celebrate that. On this day we re-align our perspective back to that.

I pray that you nor I  lose sight of this incredible gift. I pray that we do not blur the lines of capitalism in the West and the Bright Star from the east. I pray that you nor I ever are guilty of trading the incredible gift of salvation for the mammon of capitalism and greed. I pray that this season we pause and have a different kind of Christmas.

The challenge(s):

  1. Join me in committing to have a different kind of Christmas. Go over to Amazon and get the devotional, A Different Kind of Christmas, and let's commit to begin it the first Sunday of Advent (December 2, 2012) and read it into the New Year.
  2. Commit to not shop on Thanksgiving Day; spend the time with your family. Also, maybe if we do not all flock, like moths to a light, to the stores next year service-sector workers might get to spend at least Thanksgiving with their family and not have to go into work.
  3. When buying gifts, make efforts to be creative. Instead of giving another senseless gift that will soon lose its luster, maybe give a gift/buy a gift that will help to bring real lasting change...for time to come. Here are some of the places where I would suggest giving in another's name: (Click on the images to get more information)

I know that we can have a different kind of Christmas. I know that we, the Jesus people, can beat back this take over of Christmas. We can--and must--resist the allure of mammon.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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