But where does it all end? When is enough stuff, enough stuff? Is there more to this “season” than shopping?
What if we in the church were willing to use this season to set us apart, counter to the prevailing culture (actually the prevailing religion of consumerism)? First, it would take brave souls to tackle Santa and gift giving. I know from personal experience that in many churches Santa is sacred. I think Santa is actually the perfect representation of a ‘god’ for our culture. Santa is one who encourages us to ask for “things”, particularly things for ourselves. We protect the belief that Santa is real by lying to our children. Movies show us miracles of caring and getting that Santa performs. (Those who know me, know I could go on and on and on about this…)
What if we gave up the presents and gave away the money we would have spent? If an entire church fellowship did this, think about the mission possibilities! How many mosquito nets would that buy for Africa? How many heifers would it purchase to feed hungry families for years to come? How many micro loans would it provide to help families work their way out of poverty? (For the answers look up : Nothing But Nets, Heifer Project, Kiva.org)
I wonder if we are willing to make these kind of changes. To use this season teach our children and grandchildren that Advent and Christmas is a time to share our wealth to improve the lives of others. Would we dare to show the world how followers of Jesus seek to live as disciples?
Now I know some will find these ideas disturbing, even insulting. Yet it seems to me it is time for the church to be different, to show our neighbors and communities our true values. To walk the walk of Jesus.
A couple of decades ago a campaign started by asking, “Who’s birthday is it anyway?” Well that is still a great question and a good place to start. In answering it are we willing to do something bold for Jesus.