Well, here it is–Christmas Day–whether the trash collector is ready for it or not. By that I mean, there’s going to be a lot of wrapping paper and shrink wrap and boxes and packing peanuts to pick up tomorrow and he better have his A-game on.
Christmas is quite the unique phenomenon in America, and probably in many other industrialized countries. It’s really just one big celebration of stuff. We can say it’s not about the gift, but the giving. But if that were our true attitude, we wouldn’t need a holiday to stir the giving spirit within us. We’d be generous year-round. But alas, we stockpile savings (or compile debt) and do our best to make loved ones happy with mostly-unnecessary gifts. And the media is all-too-happy to cover our gluttonous post-Thanksgiving shopping sprees and frenzied last-minute Wal-Mart raids.
Why this cynical approach to a Christmas blog? I really haven’t a clue. I’m not in a particularly cynical mood. I’m pretty happy now and looking forward to traveling to Andrea and Grant’s today and spending Christmas Day and tomorrow with the fam.
I guess I just felt like writing something different than the traditional "Merry Christmas. Jesus loves you." But I really shouldn’t be different for the simple sake of being different. I should have a reason.
And I guess the reason is this: America tires me out. Don’t get me wrong: I am SO grateful for the comfortable living it offers; I have freedom to worship my Creator whenever and however I choose; I have a house, car, job…everything I need and then some.
But I’ve bought into the pressure to accumulate stuff and things and that has foiled opportunities to live so much more rich a life at times. I sometimes wonder how much more complete my love for Christ would be were my life not so blessed by him. Would I be building the modern church and drafting epistles were I in a prison cell–awaiting possible death? Or would I be longing for my friends, family and things?
Without question, those yearnings in and of themselves (especially the friends and family ones) are not particularly wrong. But if they ever, EVER conflict with our desire and motivation to expand God’s Kingdom, then they are terribly mis-prioritized.
That is essentially what the enemy has done with Christmas–he’s helped us mis-prioritize it. The celebration of history’s most glorious moment (with the possible exception of Creation and Easter) has become the most stressful time of year, a time when suicides reach an annual high right along with church attendance. Go figure.
When I began this post, I really had no idea where I was going with it. That’s a dangerous way to blog. Hope I didn’t sour anyone’s Christmas spirit. As much as I love Christmas tradition and celebration–the songs, the senses, the friends and family–I’d like to start shifting my outlook on the holiday.
Historically, Christmas isn’t all warm and fuzzy; it was an invasion of Christ’s love straight into enemy territory. If we’re to truly celebrate Christmas, we’d ratchet up our assault on the Kingdom of this World and bring another "fullness of time" that much closer to the present, thus ushering Christ’s SECOND coming.