Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tis the Season

Well the orgy of shopping, eating and spending has begun. Let me confess that I struggle with this time of year. It is not that I am a grinch (at least I don’t think so). I feel the tug toward indulgent spending (more like a push) coming from stores and institutions. Heck, one of my traditions is to go out with one of my sons on Black Friday to grab great deals (usually the computer type deals).

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,

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.



Mike Davis said...

Do you think Jesus wants us to celebrate his birthday? If you died and did many great things would you not want people to remember your death? Or would yo be satisfied with them remembering merely your day of birth?

Have you ever considered the origins of Christmas? It is rooted in paganism. Would you eat a candy if you knew it had been in the gutter?
Jesus does not want us to celebrate hid birth, rather his death. He even commanded us to celebrate this. The Bible does not even give a specific date for his birth.
-Alice Springs

Mike Davis said...

Actually Alice Springs left the comment above and I deleted it by mistake, so I reposted it. Would any of you like to respond to her?