Again David Tims has left us a gem to ponder –
Taking Back Christmas
Christians mimic culture more than mold it. Not always; but too often. For example, our models for church in the West have frequently reflected the corporate culture around us – many pastors thinking of themselves as CEO’s, church members referred to as “stakeholders”, and marketing methodologies taking higher priority than spiritual attentiveness.
Perhaps the “Christmas season” has suffered the same fate.
Biblically, Christmas was less a season and more an event. That event marked the antithesis of what most of us associate with Christmas today.
We spend a lot of money; Christ was born into poverty. We consider Christmas a “family time”; Mary and Joseph were displaced completely from home and family. We hang lights and ornaments and tinsel; the manger was lined simply with straw. We give inanimate objects that shine, taste good, or use batteries; God gave a person – His Son. We gather in church buildings to worship the Lord; God sent angels to the fields to announce good news.
Everything about the coming of Christ contrasts with the ways in which we “celebrate the season.” The marketing gurus have successfully seduced us to sanctify their plans. Once more we mimic culture with little more than a fleeting consideration of Christ.
I’m no saint in this regard.
My own inconsistencies shine like a floodlight amidst the tiny flashlights of other people. But I desire to be different. And the first step towards change is acknowledgment of the pathology. I need to diagnose and name the disease before beginning surgery.
My disease is sanctified secularism. Christ receives an honorable mention but is mostly excluded. And many of us have become unintentional carriers of this contagion.
The disease drives me to catalogs more than to Christ; it draws me to malls and distracts me with sales. I want presents, not Presence. Give me the latest gadget, not the ancient gospel. Sing about Santa, not the Savior. Open the wallet, but not the home.
Of course I’ll join in the carols, listen to the preaching, and add angels to the tree. It excuses the foundational secularism. However, the Christ-event which calls me to simple gratitude and humility morphs into a season of impulse-spending, binge-buying, and excess. I use sacred terms to justify myself … generosity, thoughtfulness, love, and family. But I let the marketplace, not the Master, define those terms.
I’m not alone.
I suspect the waiting list for this spiritual surgery might be long. Am I a Christmas Grinch? I’m too inculturated for that! But somewhere deep within me an authentic light pierces the darkness and beckons me to meditate more on Him. I’d actually like that. Perhaps you would, too. I know He would.
In HOPE –
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3 thoughts on “Christmas Wishes”
Thanks for posting that Scott (David)Christmas is something I’ve been struggling with lately. Is it just me or does Christmas seem more meaningless as I get older? It just seems that the more I have reflected on the waistfulness of religiosity so does something like Christmas seem a waist which to me now is so commercial. Even the local church on the corner buys into it, a sign that reads, ‘email@example.com’ . So even the local church tries to commercialise Christmas to get more bums on seats. I’m a hypocrite though coz a strong love language of mine is getting gifts, so I wouldn’t want that to change 🙂 The fact is I think I am also becoming a grinch when all I see is commercialism in Christmas. I think I have to break out of that and use this period of time as a time to be thankful for my saviour’s birth. For my kids especially as I share with them the importance of what Jesus means to me. Thanks for letting me listen and vent. Merry Christmas!!
hmmm i think i’m going along the same lines as you Glenn.
I’ve found this Christmas very hard to swallow. It’s almost like with communion, cause u take it every week it looses it’s meaning to some… but on such a larger scale with Christmas because it is so commercialised.
also the fact it all ties back to a religious faction wanting to change pagan rituals, that Christmas is on the 25th Dec… there is no real significance of that date.
Especially when i see ‘Australia’s Christian leaders’ (in the eyes of the media anyway) using their public CHristmas messages to follow politcal agenda’s like bagging out John Howard over environmental issues and the David Hicks saga… the media didn’t show one church leader mentioning the actual reason we celebrate Christmas, just the political stuff in the messages…
the night before christmas eve i lay on the beach with a beautiful friend staring for hours at the stars. they are so far away, so mysterious, so massive yet so subtle. as the milky way moved around us we tried to work out if mary would have been able to see any of the same stars from bethlehem.
the next night i found myself under a plaster board ceiling staring at thousands of tiny electric lights shinning just metres in front of my eyes. i wanted to chop of the roof and look at the real thing. i felt guilty for not putting any money in the offering bag coz somebody was going to have to pay for all that electricty.