Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Materialism

    Christmas: the time of year when we somehow combine huge meals, extravagant gift giving, and enormous shopping sprees under the heading of "worship". No, I don't hate Christmas. I love Christmas. I love this time of year, the particular feeling that is the Christmas season.

     However, what I don't like is what Christmas tends to become. I will be posting in the next few days about the absolutely spectacular story that is Christmas; however, today's point will be more in the negative. I want to point out what we do, how we treat Christmas that makes me think it's no more Christian in our minds than April Fool's Day. Instead, we use Jesus as a figurehead to give credence to our extravagance.

     Think about it. Watch frenzied shoppers dashing from store to store to finish their shopping; watch rude drivers honking and cutting in and out of traffic; watch strangers as they interact with each other this time of year, and you will see exactly what I mean. Jesus couldn't be any further from their minds. Jesus is instead simply an excuse for me to do what I want to do.

     But if we take the time to think about it, this is exactly the opposite of Jesus' intention. Hearing people complain about the stress of the holidays is ironic. Jesus' whole purpose in coming to earth was to call people to give up their burden's in favor of His easier yoke. We have used the very day on which Jesus transformed himself into a human to bear our burdens on himself as an excuse to add more burdens to ourselves. How ironic!

     So I want to anyone reading this to think for a moment about how we spend our Christmases. Do we spend them running around, focused on buying gifts, sending cards, attending parties, or do we instead focus on the amazing incarnation of Christ? The only reason Christmas is any different than any other holiday is the purpose for which it was instituted, to celebrate the incarnation of Jesus Christ. When we lay our focus on that aside, we forget the very reason for the gift giving, the party attending, and the card sending. What should be the backdrop becomes the center stage.

      It was a short post today, as they probably will be for the next few days. However, I want us all to think about keeping the focus on Jesus this Christmas. If you can go to a "Christmas" party and not hear the name Jesus mentioned, why would you even call it a "Christmas" party? Because everyone's wearing red? Because everyone's humming "Joy to the World"? Because there's a blowup Santa in the yard?

     None of that shows Christ. None of that shows Christmas. All it shows is our own poor, sad redirection (deliberate or otherwise) of the emphasis of the holiday season away from Jesus and instead to our own ideas, plans, and agendas. So, think about it this holiday season. Dwell on Christ.


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