Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What Are You Giving for Christmas?

It was reported recently that on Black Friday Americans spent over $10 billion to kick-off the Christmas season -- the consumerism season. In the world's wealthiest and most materialistic nation, it should not surprise us that we spend so much money, time and energy and get so stressed out about things. It does however discourage me to think that we as Christians, believers of the Lord Jesus and His followers, get caught in it as well.
We are prey to the forces of marketing and much more evil forces that wrestle against the Spirit within us.
This is not why Jesus came -- for us to glutton on things of this earth. He came that we might feast upon Him and His riches. He came that we as sinners, alienated from God, might have peace and joy that comes from the salvation that He alone can bring. He came to secure this for His people, not -- I don't think -- earthly comfort and ease and gluttony.
I know that we like to give gifts, it is a way to express our love for someone. God expresses His love the same way, by giving (see Jn 3:16). But do we have to do it according to the world? Isn't there a better way to express love for someone --yes even with giving -- that doesn't involve malls and cheap, plastic junk?
I remember when I was a kid and my aunt Alice would always bring a tin of her homemade cookies to us kids for Christmas. I looked forward to these every year. She didn't get these from a gourmet on-line bakery or some fancy dessert shop in town. No she made them -- in her own kitchen, with her own hands, some of herself went into those cookies (not literally of course) -- and an eight year old kid could not have been more pleased. Now I think what we buy, buy, buy for our own nephews and nieces and our own children -- something marketed to us by media, something overpriced with no emotional attachment at all, just something plastic from a big-box retailer that the world says they need.
I don't remember every gift I have ever received, do you? Many of the "gotta haves" were discarded, broken, lost, forgotten and erased from memory shortly after opening. The cookies from my aunt -- never have forgotten them.
What will we give this year?
May we learn from our Savior and give ourselves.

PS -- This past Saturday morning I had the wonderful privilege of speaking to Dads & Sons at Monroeton School. I did a little survey as part of my talk -- "what does your Dad do that you love the most?" I asked the boys. You know the answers? Did any one say 'when he buys me stuff' ? No, that wasn't heard. What I did hear was 'when he plays with me.' When he is with me -- that's what kids want -- you. Give yourself away.


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