Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Problem With Christmas #2

#2: Commercialism

Most people, young and old, believer and non-believer will probably tell you that this is the biggest problem with Christmas today. But not me. Now, I know it may seem like, because this one falls right down the alley with Kinda Kitschy, that I would make it number one. What can I say? You're right: Kinda Kitschy is about the horrors of faith-infused commercialism. But even more, Kinda Kitschy is about how commercialism impairs believers to do the things they're suppposed to be doing on this Earth.

So I promise you, number one will fall right in with that theme. Have I ever let you down?

That being said, let's get down to brass tax; it's time to rant.

Let's just say it and get it out of the way: Jesus is the reason for the season!

Sometimes, as I go around during Christmas time, I feel like Luke 2:10-11 should be re-written thus:

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today, in the town of David, toys have been bought for you. Christmas trees at closeout prices! TV specials and last minute sales! Don't forget that Tickle-Me Elmo! Your child will hate you if you do!"

Today, it's absolutely impossible to seperate the idea of Christmas from all the must-do hullabaloo of the season: picking out a tree, Christmas shopping, made for TV movies.

What is the idea of Christmas? I've said it over and over again for the last five posts: God the Father sent His Son, His only Son, to become a man; to love us, teach us, and die, so that our sin, that foul nature that kept us from Him, could be taken out of the way.

Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?

Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you. Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'".

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie brown.

The Incarnation, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, that inn, that manger, and those shepherds are all connected irrevocably to the Cross.

But we don't have time for any of that. What with finding one of those oh-so popular Wii's, throwing the perfect Christmas party, and Rudolph, Frosty and Santa, who can find time to remember that all of it, every last bit, meant absolutely nothing to Christ on that night in Bethlehem? He came for us; we were what mattered.

None of the things I've mentioned so far, Christmas trees, TV specials, buying gifts, Christmas parties, giving gifts, are bad, insofar as they hold they're proper place, which very few of us allow them to do. They tend to run us over.

If you feel things getting too commercial for your tastes, just remember what the Grinch said. Yes, the Grinch:

It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages boxes, or bags!
And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."

It does. It means a whole lot more; it means our sin forgiven, our hearts repaired, and eternal life with the God who provides our every need.


Allen said...

I gotta tell ya, your problems with Christmas list is making me think I want to steal it for a sermon series next year. Something like "Crummy Christmas for Cynical Christians."
Most of these are my beefs, too--and, I think, God's.

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